Ask The Community: New Learning & Development Tips

As part of our new “Ask The Community” series, Little Angels have been speaking to a whole host of childcare experts from different fields. Each piece we put forward a new childcare topic to our panel of experts and ask them for their own personal experiences and any guidance they have for new parents. This month’s Ask The Community subject matter falls into learning and development, we have asked our online community what life lessons and tips they have unearthed when trying to support the learning and development of children during their lives and careers.

We’ve received some outstanding advice and the quality of our experts this month has been fantastic, we have completed online interviews with Child Psychologists, Mental Health Experts and some of the UK’s most prominent Parent Bloggers. For some expert advice on improving social skills, communication and a whole array of further topics take a look at what our panel below have had to say.

Expert #1 – Dr. John Carosso

(Child Psychologist & Certified School Psychologist)

“If your child has reading deficits, it’s important to assess for dyslexia, which is a problem decoding words that tends to run in family genetics and, in more severe cases, often involves the process of transitioning your child from being an eye-reader, to an ear-reader (see The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan, by Ben Foss and for more advice). Secondly, if your child has challenges with expressive/receptive language, go with everything-visual: visual schedules, visual cues, visual timers, visual-boards…  that will immeasurably help your child navigate through their day”.

Expert #2 – Colette (NBA’s Parent Vlogger Finalist)

We’re Going On An Adventure

“When it comes to developing your children’s communication skills there really is nothing more important than talking to them.  From birth, even though you might feel they can’t understand your or respond, it’s really important to chat away to your child – explain what you’re doing, talk to them about different objects and label them.  As your child gets older and is starting to talk, it’s makes such a difference if you echo back to them what they are saying so that they can hear the words pronounced correctly or the appropriate sentence structure – this isn’t a case of telling them they are wrong or correcting them, just repeating it back to them as part of natural conversation.”

Expert #3 – Claudia M. Gold, MD (University of Massachusetts Boston Infant-Parent Mental Health Program)

“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Many parents today are burdened by an expectation of perfection. If we live in fear of having made, or making a mistake, we remain stuck. Or worse, we may descend into a dark place of hopelessness. In contrast to a “right” way, when parents and children feel heard and supported, they will figure things out together. Growth happens through the inevitable mistakes we make along the way.”

Expert #4 – Kirrilie Smout (Clinical Psychologist working with children and teens)

“Managing “big feelings” in preschoolers:  Some children are temperamentally more emotionally reactive than others, right from infancy.  If you have a child like this they may need extra time, connection and coaching to help them manage their frustration and anxiety.  They need first to know they will be looked after and loved, and then they need to know what to do and how to manage in different situations.  This means showing them step by step what to do.  Kids with big feelings need parents with time and patience – and this means taking care of yourself too.”

Expert #5 – Melanie Braga from Momma Braga

“Tantrums are real and they do exist! It is a hard stage but with all stages, they pass in time. One technique I used to help me was, “The Art of Distraction.” The beauty of toddlers is how quickly they can get distracted and suddenly forget what they were having a meltdown for. I have to admit that I use this technique frequently and works really well. For example, if my daughter wants something at the cash register (since the retail world strategically places eye catching items to buy at the cash out), I distract her with something else that I already have on hand. I have even asked her to help me pay and she gets really excited to help me that she forgets she was asking for something. Then I just keep talking to her about things that interest her all the way out to the car.”

Expert #6 – Victoria Welton From Verily Victoria Vocalises

“An important part of communication with your children is explaining why something might be naughty or wrong. It is very easy to say no to your child without giving the explanation and reason behind it. If you try to do this at an early age, it will help their understanding as well as communication and means it will equip them better when it comes to reasoning later on.”

Expert #7 – Helen Wills From Actually Mummy

Actually Mummy

“Where your child’s health is concerned, trust your gut. It’s natural for new parents to be nervous about their child, and for GPs to give reassurances and to assume that you’re just being over careful. But if something just feels ‘wrong’ to you, keep going back until you get to the bottom of it. Twice I’ve pushed back at my GP, and both times I’ve been right. The first was a diagnosis of reflux that needed a special feed, the second was type 1 diabetes. Both conditions are easily confused with less worrying conditions – new baby possetting/a viral illness – but you’re the expert in your child so do your research and ask for the tests you need.”

Expert #8 – Clare Nicholas From Emmy’s Mummy

Emmy’s Mummy

“Teaching children how to have a conversation should start from a young age as it’s an important part of their social development. Knowing not to interrupt when someone is talking to them, listen to what is being said and then to answer those questions. It takes some practice as children will have to learn to take turns in conversation but will quickly learn that by doing so they are heard and listened to far more than when shouting out or interrupting others. You can also teach them how to start conversations to help build friendships. “How are you?” “What’s your name?” “Would you like to play too?” Are great conversation starters.


That’s a wrap! We hope you enjoyed our very first ‘Ask The Community’ post and that there were some useful tips that you can apply to your daily routines and children’s development. Can we say a big thank you to everyone who contributed.