The team behind Wandsworth’s Children’s Speech and Language Therapy department  launched a brand new initiative called ‘Tea Talk’ last week.

‘Tea Talk’ aims to teach the parents of Wandsworth about the importance of talking to children at teatime.

Research released by the National Literacy Trust shows that children who sit down to eat dinner and talk with their family are far more confident communicators than those who don’t. However, just one in four children (26%) don’t have a daily mealtime chat and almost a third (30%) spend more time online or watching TV than talking to their family.  What’s more, children who don’t enjoy regular talk at mealtimes are also four times more likely to not feel at all confident putting their hand up in class or working in a team. 

To combat this, the ‘Tea Talk’ team hit the streets of Wandsworth on Wednesday 29th October to help local parents and carers develop the necessary skills to build their little ones’ confidence.

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, the charity behind the Words for Life campaign, said: “Our research shows just how vital conversation at home is to the future success of our children and young people.

“We’re delighted to see speaking and listening skills recently restored to the primary curriculum and hope that parents will build upon this at home.

“Talking and communicating at home, for example at mealtimes, will help children gain the skills they need for a successful and happy life.” 

On the day the speech and language therapists spoke to 153 families in 4 hours. The most common concerns were use of dummies, bilingual advice, dribbling and readiness for school.

It was a really positive event with parents saying “you’ve really reassured me – so many people had different advice about my son” and “oops I thought children’s TV was always a good pastime for them.”

Jo Hardman, Clinical Team Leader of St George’s speech and language team said: “We know that early language skills are the key to school success and early intervention for children at risk is the key.

“These sorts of events raise the profile of St George’s Community speech and language team and increases awareness of how and when to refer.

“We spoke to concerned parents, carers, grannies and child minders in a light hearted way pushing them to put away the ipads, turn off the TV’s and make tea time a chatty time.”