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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 February 2007, 06:22 GMT
We don't talk anymore
child on climbing frame
Why do we prefer watching TV to talking to our kids?

You probably remember your first day at school as difficult and intimidating. But think how much worse it would have been if you couldn't understand what was going on.

Well, that's exactly what's happening to an increasing number of children in the UK, according to the children's charity I-CAN.

It says that more than half of children who arrive at primary school don't have the basic speech and language skills they need to learn and make friends.

And it's blaming our hectic lifestyles for the language gap, as more parents try to juggle long working hours and childcare.

This morning on Breakfast:

We asked: is this a serious problem - or just another source of guilt for stressed parents?

  • We talked to Kate Freeman, who's a speech therapist from I-CAN and author Claire Calman, who has a three year old son.
  • I-CAN, which specialises in speech problems, has discovered that two thirds of parents spend more time watching TV than talking to their children.

    What you told Breakfast
    When my twins were babies, my husband used to hold one in each arm and read the Telegraph to them.
    Kate, Wirral

    As a result, up to half don't have the right language skills by the time they get to school, increasing their risk of academic failure and social exclusion.

    It's worried that many of us just don't know exactly what a child should be able to do at various milestone ages.

    So it's launched a campaign called Make Chatter Matter, with a special DVD, to help parents develop their children's ability to talk.

    We don't talk any more
    Watch our debate again with Claire Calman and Kate Freeman

    BBC Breakfast


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