NSPCC activities to help a child's development in lockdown with Look, Say, Sing and Play campaign

Look, Say, Sing and Play. That's the advice to parents worried about their baby or toddler's development because of lockdown and social distancing.

The message, which is the backbone of a new nationwide NSPCC campaign, is coming to the aid of mums and dads concerned about how to mitigate the impact three months away from wider family and friends, baby and toddler groups could be having on their child's progress.

The NSPCC has produed some advice and tips for families worried about their child's development
The NSPCC has produed some advice and tips for families worried about their child's development

It is being billed as 'the baby brain-building' campaign for under twos.

As part of the launch, the charity has produced a series of short You Tube videos which show how families can enjoy activities indoors using items found around the house with an emphasis on face-to-face interaction with babies and toddlers such as talking, making noises they can copy, singing and playing with everyday objects.

It also explains how each fun task helps a baby's brain to develop and parents can sign up to receive their own weekly tips in emails delivered straight to their inbox from the NSPCC.

Those already having put Look, Say, Sing and Play to the test in a number of pilot projects both across Kent and further afield - the first of which were initially trialled last year - say they have also found the games help build strong bonds with parents and siblings and keep young children entertained until many normal activities with others can safely resume.

Kelly Evans from Sittingbourne is amongst the parents to have had a go. She has also taken part in a virtual focus group to help organisers at the NSPCC assess how the Look, Say, Sing, Play tips have reassured her as a new mum, particularly in negotiating lockdown with 10-month old Jess.

Kelly with daughter Jess
Kelly with daughter Jess

She explained: “The Look, Say, Sing, Play tips have been really helpful during lockdown, especially because I am a first-time mum and a lot of the time I question whether I’m doing the right thing. It’s been especially hard during the lockdown as there have been less things to do to entertain Jess.

“Often, I’ll play games or do an activity with her and then afterwards I’ll question if that was actually helping her. Receiving the Look, Say, Sing, Play tips has reassured me that I am doing lots of things that are really helping her to develop."

Last year, an NSPCC survey of more than 2,000 parents and expectant parents revealed that 62% were unaware early interactions with their new baby in moments such as playing, singing or story time can be brain-building ones.

Kelly says as Jess has got older she can see how the activities they've played are reflecting in her development.

She added: “I do a lot of mimicking with her and she can now wave and clap back at me. The tips are such a great guide and help point me in the right direction. I also find it really helpful to understand the science and find out how the activities will help Jess.”

The absence of playgroups and baby classes has led to concerns about the impact on a child's emotional and physical development
The absence of playgroups and baby classes has led to concerns about the impact on a child's emotional and physical development

NSPCC head of local campaigns Helen Westerman, who hosted the virtual focus group, said the coronavirus pandemic has made lockdown a worrying time for new families as they spend prolonged periods distanced from close family and friends or regular social activities such as baby groups or classes.

She explained: “After weeks of no baby groups, soft play, playgrounds or seeing friends and family, the parents and early years practitioner we spoke to were understandably worried about their children’s development, so it’s fantastic to hear that the Look, Say, Sing, Play tips have reassured and helped the parents keep their children entertained during this unsettling time.

“The tips are all about the fun you can have with what’s lying around the house rather than having expensive toys or gadgets; or adding to the list of things parents already have to do.”

To learn more about the campaign, and to sign-up to receive the free brain-building techniques for your child, please click here to visit the NSPCC website.

For more baby and toddler related news from across Kent please visit www.mykentfamily.co.uk

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