0 - 12 months
As a parent, you may feel you need a bit more parenting support than usual with children being at home more and schools being closed. Here you can find some parenting top tips and advice, guidance on child behaviour and development, and information on parental stress and mental wellbeing.
Practical parenting support
- Parenting Top Tips (Family Links Nurturing Programme)– A range of top tips to help you deal with challenging behaviour
- Baby Wants– Activities you can do with a new born baby
- The Dad Pad–Providing dads to be with the knowledge and practical skills they need to support their partners and give their baby the best possible start in life
- Family Links– Free downloads with practical tips and ideas for parents
- The Communication Trust– A range of support and advice for parents of children and young people who struggle to communicate because they have speech, language and communication needs, as well as supporting all children and young people to communicate to the best of their ability
- Baby Buddy app– Guiding you through your pregnancy and the first 6 months following your baby’s birth. It is designed to help you look after your baby’s mental and physical health, as well as your own
- Action for Children DOTS– Helpful tips for parents of children aged under 5 as well as one on one chat support
- NSPCC Support for parents– Parenting tips on all stages of children’s lives, as well as advice on how to deal with difficult situations.
When a child feels their emotional and physical needs are recognised and met by parents and caregivers, they feel secure and confident about their place in the world and their sense of themselves and others.
A secure bond with parents and caregivers helps children to:
- Feel safe and secure
- Learn to manage their feelings and regulate their emotions
- Feel confident to learn, play and explore from a safe base
- Have empathy and compassion for others
- Develop long term relationships with adults and peers alike.
Developing a bond with your child
The following resources help parents understand why a strong bond with their children is important and shares ideas on how to develop this bond.
- HelpGuide– A wide range of evidence-based information and self-help tools on secure attachment and bonding
- Getting it right from the start– A video providing information and advice about bonding and attachment with your baby through pregnancy and with a newborn baby
- Helping Your Baby Get the Best Start in Life– A video teachings parents how to create a secure attachment bond with their baby and overcome challenges that make connecting difficult
- The Social Baby– A video about how to socialise with your baby at birth
- Still Face Experiment– A video about the importance of interacting with your baby
- Understanding your baby– A leaflet produced by the Institute of Health Visiting on understanding your baby
- Attachment Parenting– Advice and support on how to develop a great relationship between parent and child
- Special time together leaflet– Ideas on how to make the most of out special time with your baby
- Playing together leaflet– Tips on what babies enjoy when you are playing together.
Communication is at the heart of everything we do. It is central to our lifelong learning, confidence, our work, friendships, and having interests that we enjoy.
During a child’s first five years, this is particularly important as we want children to be ready for the transition into an education setting, e.g. school and nursery, and to have their basic needs met. Where children face difficulties with their speech, language or communication, they may find it harder in nursery/school to make friends or to stay calm.
Parents have an important role in supporting their children’s speech, language and communication, and can help develop these areas in a number of ways, including:
- Interaction and talking with your baby/child
- Managing the child’s environment, setting consistent limits and clear expectations and ensuring routines are predictable (all of which can help decrease the opportunities for negative emotions to build up)
- Recognising and helping children understand their emotions.
It is important to remember that children do develop at different rates and that some children may need additional support. If you have any concerns about your child’s development, contact your health visitor.
Communicating with your child
The following websites and resources may be useful for you:
- Tiny Happy People– A range of information, ideas and activities supporting speech, language and communication from pregnancy to age 5 years
- I CAN’s Talking Point– Provides information to help you understand and support children and young people’s speech, language and communication
- 10 top tips to support speech, language and communication skills
- The Communication Trust– A range of support and advice for parents of children and young people who struggle to communicate because they have speech, language and communication needs as well as supporting all children and young people to communicate to the best of their ability
- The Literary Trust – Offers a range of activities for children from birth up to age 12
- Small Talk– A booklet explaining how children learn to talk, from birth to age 5
- BookTrust– A range of resources and support to help children and families develop a love of reading
- Book Trust: Dual language books–Information and advice on how to access dual language books
- Baby Buddy app– Guiding you through your pregnancy and the first 6 months following your baby’s birth. It is designed to help you look after your baby’s mental and physical health, as well as your own.
Take a look at the materials listed below to help you develop your baby’s speech and communication skills
Children’s brains change a lot as they grow, and these changes can influence children’s behaviour and how they respond in different situations.
Just like with adults, children’s behaviour can be affected by experiences and environment and/or their parents / carers own life experiences.
However, it is possible to describe what behaviour should look like at different ages and in different situations. Children will not always understand when their behaviour is appropriate or not appropriate, and parents can help them to do this in a positive way.
It is important to remember that every child matures at a different pace. In particular, children with additional needs may not stick to age guides.
General behaviour and development support
- Early Years Development Matters– A booklet on a child’s development and what parents can do to support them through the first five years of their lives
- Developmental and emotional milestones leaflet– A comprehensive overview of developmental and emotional milestones from 0 to 18 years. There are also a range of websites and resources on child behaviour
- NHS Choices– Helpful advice on how to respond to a range of child behaviour
- Action for Children’s DOTS– A range of really helpful tips for parents of children aged under 5 as well as one on one chat support
- NSPCC Positive Parenting– Practical advice and tips for positive parenting techniques that work well for children, from babies to teenagers
- Circle of Security Programme– Resources for parents from the Circle of Security programme, an American evidence-based programme that supports effective parent-child attachment and bonding
- Barnardos’ Your Young Child’s Behaviour: How you can help– This leaflet covers a variety of age groups up to five years old and is currently free to download
- Sarah Ockwell-Smith– Sarah is a parenting expert and runs a website that includes a range of podcasts and vlogs. There is also a free weekly newsletter.
How to cope with tantrums (NSPCC) – Tips and advice to help you manage temper tantrums and bad behaviour.
Parenting Top Tips (Family Links Nurturing Programme) – A range of top tips to help you deal with challenging behaviour that your children may display
Positive parenting (NSPCC) – Practical advice and tips for positive parenting techniques that work well for children, from babies to teenagers.
- Five ways to wellbeing (NHS) – Trying these five things could make you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life
- Mental health and parenting (NSPCC)– Help and advice for parents and families dealing with mental health problems
- If you’re in an unhappy place (Wigan Council) – A range of advice and guidance to help you make positive and healthy life choices
- Alcohol, Drugs and Parenting (NSPCC)– Support and advice for parents or carers who are concerned about their alcohol or drug use
- Controlling anger guide (NHS)– A self-help guide from the NHS to help parents control their anger
- Handle with care (NSPCC)– Why parents should never shake their baby and ways they can soothe them when they cry. There are tips on how to cope when the crying does not stop or seems too much to handle.
- Two hug day– A guide for parents on how to speak to their children about separation and divorce
- Separation and divorce (NSPCC)– Your rights around child contact and advice for supporting children during a separation
- Zero to Three– An online resource for parents who are living apart and parenting together.
Here you can find guidance on how to keep your baby healthy, such as keeping their sleeping routine and support with feeding.
Your baby will have an immediate physical external examination after birth, and a newborn hearing screening within 4-5 weeks of birth depending on whether the birth was hospital or community based.
Your baby’s vaccination schedule – Download a vaccination planner to stick on your fridge.
Further vaccinations and immunisations
All parents want to keep their children safe, we know how important it is to use a car seats, a fireguard or a stair gate, but did you know that one of the best ways to protect them is to make sure they have all of their vaccinations?
Vaccinating your child serves two important purposes:
- Vaccines protect the individual child
- Vaccines prevent your child from spreading diseases to other people.
Childhood vaccinations are safe and important – further guidance can be found below.
- NHS guidance on why vaccinations are safe and important
- NHS guidance on when to have childhood vaccinations
- Start4Life guidance on baby and toddler vaccinations and immunisations
Vitamins and supplements
- Avoiding accidents in the home – Advice on avoiding accidents so you can avoid a trip to the hospital.
Breast milk is tailor made for your baby, free and always available. Breast milk provides the best nourishment for your baby, and there are many health benefits for both you and your baby, short term and long term.
- Breastfeeding Together – local support for breastfeeding
- Start4Life breastfeeding advice
- The Baby Friendly initiative – national support and advice for parents on breastfeeding.
Tongue tie and milk supply
You may make the decision to feed your baby with formula milk, rather than breastfeeding. This is a personal choice which you can discuss with your midwife or health visitor.
There is no known reason why some babies die suddenly from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
You can find further information about how to reduce the risk of SIDS by visiting:
Sleep is extremely important for children’s physical and emotional development, health and wellbeing, and can be a potential cause of behavioural issues.
As children and young people grow, the advice about how much sleep they need changes, as does the advice about how to encourage and support children into good sleeping patterns.
- NHS Choices website – provides the approximate hours of sleep needed by children of different ages, as recommended by the Millpond Children’s Sleep Clinic
- Sleep Foundation– provides advice about sleep requirements and patterns at different ages
- World Health Organisation– guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children under 5.
Challenges around sleep
HOME LEARNING AND ACTIVITIES
Learning can take many forms, babies and toddlers can learn a lot through play. Here you can find lots of ideas and activities to help keep your children entertained and active while they are at home.
Physical activity ideas and other websites for your baby or toddler
- Tiny Happy People – A range of videos to help make learning and development fun
- Hungry Little Minds – Simple, fun activities for children, ranging from newborn to five years
- Early Years Foundation Framework (EYFS) sets out the learning and development stages for children as they grow from birth to five years. ‘What to expect, when?’ guidance gives ideas of the things you can do to help your child learn and develop
- Action for Children Dots provides a range of ideas on what you can do together at home to help your child learn and have fun too
- Baby moves (Start4Life) explains the importance of adult interaction and shares a number of activities that you can do with your baby from newborn up until the baby is crawling.
- Special time together leaflet – Ideas on how to make the most of out special time with your baby.
Physical activity materials for your baby or toddler
- Playing together leaflet– Top tips on playing with your baby to help them learn
- Baby massage instructions– how to do baby massage at home with your baby
- Move with your baby – Sensory moves
- Move with your baby – Tummy time 1
- Move with your baby – Tummy time 2
- Move with your baby – Move and play 1
- Move with your baby – Move and play 2
Below you will find a range of at home activities to try with your toddlers and children – have fun!
FURTHER HELP AND SUPPORT
You may need support with other areas of your life which have been impacted. Here you can find information around finances and housing, and how to keep in touch with your local Start Well Family Centre.
If you are already receiving Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction you must tell the council about a change in your circumstances within 30 days, this includes:
- Losing or getting a job
- Having a baby
- A partner moving in or out.
Child Tax Credit is a benefit that helps with the cost of raising a child if you are on a low income. It is one of six benefits being replaced by Universal Credit.
Further advice and guidance
- Wigan Council Housing Benefits advice
- Citizens Advice
- Money Advice Service
- NHS advice on maternity and paternity leave
Are you at risk of being homeless?
Visit Wigan Council to get support if you’re homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
The council must provide emergency accommodation if you’re homeless and have children or are pregnant.
You can also contact Shelter for free, independent advice.
- Our Start Well Family Centres are there to help you give children under five the best start in life. Support includes:
- Early education and play
- Health services
- Information and advice about children’s services
- Parenting support.
During this time parents are advised to keep their children at home where possible. You can keep in touch with your local Start Well Family Centre and stay up to date with events by visiting their Facebook page: