Published: Tuesday, 10th Nov 2020

Families in Bolton are being urged to follow five simple steps to help children develop the valuable language skills they need to succeed. 

This comes as the new Bolton’s Integrated Early Years Communication and Language Pathway is launched to help Bolton’s children get the best possible start in life. 
The pathway aims to give families access to the right information and advice during each crucial stage in their child’s language development.
This pathway is supported by Bolton’s Integrated Early Years Communication and Language Development Service a collaboration between Bolton NHS Foundation Trust; Bolton Council Start Well Service and Bolton NHS Clinical Commissioning Group.
Studies have shown that better communications skills help to improve not only educational outcomes, but the child’s prospects throughout their life.
The pathway will see multiple agencies work together, highlighting that it is everyone’s responsibility to help young children develop and improve their communications and language skills.
As well as the professional support available, following five easy steps, known as the Golden Rules, can make a big difference in the development of a child’s communication skills:
•         Eye to Eye: Get down to the child’s level so they can see your face when you speak
•         A or B: Offer choices, show and name the alternatives 
•         10 Seconds: Wait for 10 seconds and listen to give the child time to respond
•         Actions Speak Louder than Words: Use actions, expressions, and tone to help children understand what you are saying
•         Model and Extend: Repeat what a child says and add an extra word

Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Cllr Anne Galloway, said: “This new pathway will play a valuable role in supporting local families and making sure children in Bolton learn the vital communication skills they will need later in life.
“It is just one way in which the council and our partners are fulfilling our commitment to give all children in Bolton the best possible start in life.
“But there are simple steps that everyone can follow at home to help children develop their language and build their vocabulary.”
Lynne Barnes, Divisional Director of Operations – Families Division, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, added: “This has been an amazing piece of integrated work. 
“The pathway will enable those working with families to provide the right support, at the right time for our Bolton families which will help to improve the communication and language outcomes for our youngest children.”
Dr Helen Wall, Bolton CCG’s Clinical Director of Commissioning, said: ’We know that children with communication difficulties are more likely to have poorer educational outcomes which can affect their future life chances.
“Self-esteem and confidence can also be severely affected by communication difficulties.
“This new pathway will enable families to access high quality information, advice and support when they most need it.”
More information about the Bolton’s Integrated Early Years Communication and Language Pathway is available online.