Nicola Lathey is a speech and language therapist, and founder of the Owl Centre, a private clinic for children in the UK. Nicola is a member of the Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice, the Royal Collage of Speech and Language Therapists and the Health Professional Council. She is the author of Small Talk and lives with her family in Oxford.
In Small Talk: Bedtime and Small Talk: At the Park see how expressions, gestures and repetition of simple first words can help early conversations to blossom, throughout baby's bathtime and nighttime routine.
In this extract from Small Talk, Nicola Lathey and Tracey Blake explain how reading to your child helps their development
Huge thanks to columnist Karen Kay 🙌 and Buckinghamshire Life magazine 🙌 for featuring the story of my 💡 moment... https://t.co/Thf7h4QP19
by @Smalltalktime - 6 days ago
What a great way to start #humpday - with some lovely press for Student Nannies in Norwich’s fab @icenimagazine... https://t.co/rdPmXRbWgt
by @Smalltalktime - 9 days ago
Monty v bubblewrap #mondaymotivation https://t.co/Oy1s2UrMLf
by @Smalltalktime - 10 days ago
Just scored 2 in #SausageRun! Think you can beat it? https://t.co/BfDGQuOusr
by @Smalltalktime - 26 days ago
#Repost @studentnannies 😂🍸
That feeling when you realise it’s #nationalmargaritaday 🎉 #rollon6pm... https://t.co/CyXS6wefIP
by @Smalltalktime - 29 days ago
Early language development must be prioritised as a child wellbeing indicator to close the gap betwe...
by @smalltalktime - 5 months ago
by @smalltalktime - 6 months ago
As we always say - it is never to early to start learning to talk! Okay maybe straight after the co...
by @smalltalktime - 8 months ago
British parents only spend 44 minutes a day talking to their children, according to new research
Pirate Spiderman boy… - one year ago
Is still dry at night - he's really proud of himself!
Momentous times at our house… - one year ago
Gosh, it's actually happening. They are growing up before my very eyes. Today Minnie, aged 6 and a half, announced that she has learnt how to open packets of crisps by herself (and then demonstrated with a bag of Wotsits). If that's not a milestone in childhood, I don't know what is.
But it doesn't stop there. Last night Monty (who'll be 4 in June) refused to wear his pull-up to bed. I took him for a 'second wee' (they do one before bath and one after) and he was dry through the night. Boom, right there, another milestone. And it was actually lovely that he'd decided to do it - it didn't come from us.
Recently I've noticeda fewmore things that Monty can now do that he couldn't do before. He can sort of blow his own nose. Not very well, his technique needs some finessing as he tends to wipe the snot in the tissue upwards and over his forehead in a flourish, but he understands the process of blowing out hard through his nose, rather than sucking in.
He can also now eat an ice-cream fairly neatly, without wiping it all over his face and chest. He can understand the melting issue and can lick the bits that are about to drip.Wow, when you think of the mental processes and coordination required to achieve this it really is a mini miracle.
Air Blade dryers no longer guarantee hysteria in public toilets.
On the whole, they no longer mistake women with short hair for men - loudly.
Monty now has a 50% chance of washing his hands by himself without getting his sleeves soaking wet. Although the other day when I left him to his own devices he left the tap in thedownstairs basin running and it wasabout two hours before I realised. It's all a learning curve!
Two things Monty still hasn't grasped - carrying things on a level. I think this is very tricky and probably not mastered til fourplus. If I give him a plate of toast to carry to the sofa I watch it slide off (sticky side down, natch) with grim inevitability.
And if he asks to do painting you can guarantee it will end up all over him (even in his eyebrows and down his pants). In fact, this is almost a skill!
In which we finally reach Legoland…. - one year ago
We only live about 45 mins from Windsor but we've never been to Legoland before - until Friday. Still feeling a bit under the weather, I took Minnie and Monty as a treat to round off the Easter holidays. Here's what we learnt:
I would definitely recommend paying extra for a Q-bot - these gadgets enable you to skip the queues, some of which were 45 mins long, which would have been a nightmare with my two (admittedly, I am not the most patient of people either, sometimes!).
Monty was under a meter tall which meant there were quite a few rides he couldn't go on. Luckily one of the lovely staff circled all of the rides he could, and we made for those. These were thebig hits:
Atlantis Submarine Voyage - you board a bright yellow sub (complete with screen and gadgets inside) and can see sharks and fish swim by through the huge glass windows, as well as models of divers, mermaids and Neptune - all made from Lego, natch
Coastguard HQ. Oddly, we hadto pay extra for this ride (I couldn't get to the bottom of why, when there is already an admission fee to the park) but the children actually got to steerthe little boat which they lovedand surprisingly it wasn't too much of a white-knuckle ridefor me. Minnie assured me that she had her boat license as she put her foot to the floor and we cruised around spotting giraffe, hippos and elephants. There was a slightly hairy moment when she wasn't keen on giving up the wheel to let Monty have a turn and they were both on their feet but we all managed to stay on board.
The oldies are the best, and the classic carousel ride was a hit, as well as the ride where they sit in chairs hanging from chains that swing out when the ride gets going.
Regular readers of the blog will know that Monty is pirate mad, so we had to go to the pirate stunt show, which included great theatrics including lots of pirates 'walking the plank' off the top of a very tall tower which really impressed Monty.
Lunch - if you haven't got your act together to make a packed lunch like me (I also didn't want to carry it all) head for the Lego Hotel for lunch. I collapsed at a table in the Skyline Bar and orderedwhile the kids played in the big fun house and pit of Lego bricks while they waited forour foodto arrive. Thank goodness for the entertainment - because we had to wait a lengthy 45 minutes. The food wasn't great but the children were excited to eat Lego-brick-shaped chips. If I come again, I'll bring sarnies.
Minnie enjoyed Mini Land, and not just because it was named after her. The set-ups of everything from NASA to Big Ben were all fashioned out of.... you guessed it, Lego! And there were lots of moving trains, boats and cars to catch their eyes.
I am not the best map reader so we did a lot of zig zagging back and forth and a lot of walking due to my bad planning and map reading. We were all tired by the end of the day, so film seemed like a good idea. The 4D Lego film was actually very amusing - the plot centered around the characters being tricked into going to Brick Land, a poor imitation of Legoland. There was a lovely moment where Lego shapes were floating around in front of our eyes and the children had to point to a purple brick of a yellow cone, and thereal flames and spray certainlygot my two excited.
After spending from 10.30-5pm there, we barely scratched the surface - there's so much we didn't get around to seeing. We'll be back Legoland, preferably when Monty has grown another inch and we haveJames with us to carry the packed lunch and planour route efficiently through the park!
Now I've got Monty's lurgy…. - one year ago
He was poorly at nursery yesterday so my mum dashed to get him. He seems right as rain today but I am now suffering from the permanent headache, achy bones and sore throat. Finger's crossed Minnie and James won't get it!
My First Ballet: Sleeping Beauty – our review! - one year ago
My First Ballet: Sleeping Beauty
Peacock Theatre, W1
The English National Ballet’s new child-friendly production My First Ballet: Sleeping Beauty, claims to be for age three and above – so what would my two tiny critics, Monty, 3, and Minnie (dressed in obligatory tutu), 6, make of it?
Things get off to a great start when I realise the children won’t have to interpret the plot purely through the medium of dance – a narrator tells the story, making it easy for them to follow.
‘So beautiful!’ gasps Monty when the good fairies make their entrance to give gifts to baby princess Aurora. While he’s impressed with the sparkling diamante tutus and tiaras, Minnie’s old enough to appreciate the dancing, much of which is on pointes (‘How do they not snap their ankles?’ she ponders).
The male dancers cause a stir, too. ‘Why are the men wearing tights?’ asks Minnie, while Monty cuts straight to the chase and says loudly, ‘I can see their bottoms!’
All the exciting stuff seems to happen in the quickfire 40-minute first half. Bad fairy Carabosse sweeps on stage in a carriage pulled by sinister looking minions in masks; Aurora grows up and pricks her finger at her 16th birthday party, then falls asleep, with the whole palace, for 100 years.
In the 25-minute second half we meet the Prince. A long dance scene in the woods with no narration where he (slightly bizarrely) bumps into fairytale characters including Puss In Boots and Red Riding Hood loses the children’s attention. It’s pulled back though, when he fights with Carabosse and finally gets to kiss Sleeping Beauty.
A family ticket for four starts at £65, making this a very reasonable outing compared to West End prices. It’s rather like going to a posh panto – a lovely tale with tasteful Tchaikovsky music, and glorious staging and costumes that appeals to old and young. Just remember not to boo the baddie – this is the ballet darling.