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Early Year's Parenting


Welcome to the Early Year's parenting page of our website. 

This information was taken from the Children's Centre Services Ashfield Facebook page. 

Messaging Service
Text your health visitor/ public health nurse.

During these unsettling times, you may have health and wellbeing concerns about your baby or young child and be unsure how to get the help you need.
Our health practitioners are still here to help - you can text them for confidential advice and support about a wide range of issues.
Parent/carers of babies, child(ren) and young people under 19, can send a text to:
We can help with all kinds of things like:
• Sleep
• Feeding
• Breastfeeding
• Bottle feeding
• Introducing solids
• Toileting
• Child health
• Adjusting to parenting
• Toddler behaviour
• Emotional support

Your ChatHealth messaging service is run by Nottinghamshire Health Care Foundation Trust Healthy Family Teams and is available 9-4:30pm Monday to Friday excluding weekends and bank holidays.
We aim to reply to you within one working day and you should get an immediate bounce-back to confirm we received your text. Texts will not be seen outside of normal working hours. If you need help before you hear back from us, contact you GP, NHS 111 or dial 999 if it is an emergency.

Please see the document below for guidance on your child’s learning and development in the early years foundation stage.

What to expect, when?

Sure Start Children's Centres

The Children’s Centres are commissioned to deliver services to families with children under 5 years of age and expectant families.

The core purposes of Children Centres are:

  • To improve child development and school readiness

  • To develop parenting skills and their aspirations

  • To provide opportunities to enhance children’s and families’ health and life experiences

They offer a wide range of support for all families. Here is an overview of some of services they can provide –

  • Play groups and school holiday play sessions – Look out for the latest ‘what’s on guide’ & 'Half term/school holiday activity guides'

  • Family outreach support – Working one to one with families supporting a range of areas/topics such as behaviour management & sleep . Please see the 'Parents and carers request form' below or chat to your child's class teacher if you would prefer us to refer you for support.

  • Parenting programmes (delivered in a group environment) – 123 Magic (a 5-week behaviour management course), sleep workshop (a 5 weeks’ workshop on sleep management), basic behaviour workshop (a one-off session on managing children’s behaviour)

  • Adult Education and Family Learning sessions – sessions on a range of subjects. Over the past year courses have been offered such as Using Phonics, Cooking on a Budget and Paediatric First Aid. 

  • Opportunities to volunteer – Volunteering can be a very rewarding experience. It can provide stepping stones for anyone looking to get back into work or gain employment.


Mrs Turner (FS1 Teacher) is our Children's Centre link worker, if you have any questions please feel free to ask her about how Sure Start can support you and your child. 


Parents and Carers request form

Keeping safe

Keeping healthy

Do you have a two year old?

Did you know you may be eligible for 15 hours worth of free childcare if your child is two years old?

To see if you are eligable and to apply for a place then call 0300 500 80 80 or email 


Your two-year-old child may qualify for a free early years place if:

  • your home address is in Nottinghamshire, and
  • they are classed as a "looked after child" (a "looked after child" is a child who is (a) in the care of a local authority, or (b) being provided with accommodation by a local authority in the exercise of their social services function. The term "looked after child" would include a child who was previously "looked after" but, immediately thereafter, became subject to an adoption, resident or special guardianship order)
  • have left care through special guardianship or an adoption or residence order.

OR you receive one of the following benefits:

  • income support
  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • income-related employment support allowance
  • support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • guarantee element of state pension credit
  • child tax credit and also that your household’s yearly income does not exceed £16,190 (as assessed by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs)
  • you receive Working Tax Credits and your household’s gross annual earnings are no more than £16,190 as above
  • your child receives Disability Living Allowance.


  • your child has an Education Health and Care plan.

If they are two between:

  • 1 September and 31 December – Apply between September and December, eligible from January (spring term)
  • 1 January and 31 March – Apply between January and March eligible from April (summer term)
  • 1 April and 31 August – Apply between April and August eligible from September (autumn term)

Please note: our system will only allow parents or Customer Service Centre to submit applications up to 16 weeks before the child turns 2. If it is more than 16 weeks before your child’s 2nd birthday then you will not be able to proceed with your application. Please apply at a later date in this instance.

Places are available in Ofsted-rated good or outstanding providers on the Nottinghamshire directory for up to 15 hours per week for 38 weeks per year (term time only).

Get Started

Alternative ways to do this

If you are unable to complete the form online, you can contact us on 0300 500 80 80 or

This information is correct as of August 26th 2016 and was scourced directly from the Nottinghamshire County Council Website

Supporting your child's speech and language development

Good speaking and listening skills are crucial; children need them to do well at school and to make friendships. Much later on, good communication skills are vital for their careers, as well as their all-round well being.

Drop the Dummy!

Limit the use of Dummies

Messages around use of dummies can be confusing but it is thought that the over use of dummies can hinder children’s speech development.  The following is based on advice given by the Lullaby Trust.

  • Some research suggests that it is possible that using a dummy when putting a baby down to sleep could reduce the risk of sudden infant death.

  • If you choose to use a dummy, wait until breastfeeding is well established (at up to about 4 weeks old).

  • Stop giving a dummy to your baby to go to sleep between 6 and 12 months. In Nottinghamshire we recommend 6 months as this is when your baby will start to experiment more with making speech sounds.

  • If you choose to use a dummy, make sure it is part of your baby’s regular sleep routine. Try to keep it for sleep times only.

  • If your child does use a dummy when they are awake, take out their dummies when they are talking, either when they are making early communication noises and babble, or later, real words.

  • Don’t force your baby to take a dummy or put it back in if your baby spits it out. Don’t use a neck cord.

  • Don’t put anything sweet on the dummy, and don’t offer during awake time.

  • Using an orthodontic dummy is best as it adapts to your baby’s mouth shape.

  • You can speak to your Children's Centre team/health visitor about using dummies and about ways to reduce dummy use.

Six Tips To Talking

  1. Talk to your child as you play together.
  2. Spend time singing nursery rhymes and songs to your child, especially ones with actions and exciting sounds in them. For example:
    • Peek-a-Boo
    • Pat-a-Cake
    • Round and Round the Garden
  3. Have fun with sounds. Help your child listen to different sounds and look where the sound is coming from. For example:
    • An aeroplane
    • Letters coming through the door
    • You making sounds at bath time
  4. Listen to your child. Give them time to talk. Respond to the way they tell you things. For example:
    • The faces they make
    • Their points and waves
    • Their sounds and words
  5. Try to keep dummies for sleep times only.
  6. Turn off the telly and radio so you have a quiet time with your child each day. You could look at a book, sing songs or play together.

It helps if you:

  • Keep your sentences short
  • Repeat what you say
  • Copy back what your child says or the ?noise they make
  • Add a few words to what your child says

More top tips for talking

Through the eyes of a child

Four short videos created by The Communication Trust to help parents encourage their children's communication development. Worth a look no

Safer Sleep

  • Always place your baby on their back to sleep
  • Keep your baby smoke free during pregnancy and after birth

  • Place your baby to sleep in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first 6 months

  • Breastfeed your baby, if you can

  • Use a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in good condition

  • Never sleep on a sofa or in an armchair with your baby

  • Don’t sleep in the same bed as your baby if you smoke, drink or take drugs or are extremely tired, if your baby was born prematurely or was of low birth-weight

  • Avoid letting your baby get too hot

  • Don’t cover your baby’s face or head while sleeping or use loose bedding

Books and the bedtime routine

Discover Bath, Book, Bed: simple steps to a better night's sleep

Bedtime battles can be exhausting!!
That's why the BookTrust alongside Super Nanny Jo Frost have devised the Bath, Book, Bed routine: a simple solution to sleepless nights.

  • Did you know that a regular nightly bedtime routine is associated with improved sleep in young children? We think there's nothing better than snuggling up and sharing a soothing bedtime story to send them off to the land of nod.

Jo Frost says:

  • 'We know that sleep is a number one concern for new (and not so new) families. Bath, Book, Bed is a tried and trusted way of ensuring that your little ones establish a great sleep routine - and that means you can get some rest yourself. It's why I've teamed up with BookTrust on their Bath, Book, Bed campaign.'

Bath Book Bed