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Child Development

Reading Family Information Service

The NHS website holds useful information on all aspects of baby and child development, see website for more details.  

 Page reveiwed December 2021

Where can I get advice about my child’s development?

Health visitors are the first point of call for families with babies and young children up until school age, where they can discuss any queries or concerns they have about their child’s development. Each family should have a Health Visitor they can contact when they need advice or support.

Can I only speak to my own health visitor?

There are Child Health Clinics that provide drop in sessions, where a health professional is available for a brief consultation about your child’s health.

You can also have your baby weighed here, please refer to your child’s red book to find out how often your baby should be weighed. To find out when these clinics take place please view Reading Child Health Clinics


Duty Health Visitor

If you are unable to contact your health visitor, the Duty Health Visitor can provide practical support and health advice. This is available to families with young children up to the age of five years.

They can answer questions and give advice on topics including breast feeding, sleep, immunisation, teething etc.

To contact the team Tel: 0118 9312111 Monday to Friday 9am – 1pm



What is Healthy Start?

Healthy Start helps you give your family the very best start in life.

If you are pregnant or have a child under four years old you could get Healthy Start vouchers to help buy some basic foods. This important means-tested scheme provides vouchers to spend with local retailers. Pregnant women and children over one and under four years old can get one £3.10 voucher per week. Children under one year old can get two £3.10 vouchers (£6.20) per week.

To find out more you can contact your health visitor / midwife or visit

Where can I find out about Bookstart?

Every child in England is entitled to a free Bookstart pack before they are 12 months old and again aged 3-4 years. Bookstart also gifts additional needs packs for babies and toddlers, as well as black-and-white booklets for newborns and dual language books. To find out more please visit

Sharing books, stories and rhymes with your child from an early age can help create a lifelong reader.

When are the child development checks?

There is one at 9-12 months and another health and development review at two to two-and-a-half years of age. This is usually done by a nursery nurse or the health visitor, and may happen at your home, baby clinic, the children's centre, or at your child's nursery (if they are attending one).

They'll encourage you to talk about your child's progress and will help you with any concerns. You may be asked to fill in a short questionnaire about your baby's development.

It's best if both you and your partner are there. If your child attends an Early Years setting, such as a nursery or childminder, the review may be linked to your child's early years progress check at age two.

The review will cover:

  • general development, including movement, speech, social skills and behaviour, and hearing and vision
  • growth, healthy eating and keeping active
  • managing behaviour and encouraging good sleeping habits
  • toothbrushing and going to the dentist
  • Keeping your child safe
  • Vaccinations

I have concerns with my child’s Speech & Language.

In Reading there are drop in sessions available where Speech and language therapists will be available to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your child’s speech and language development (not currently running due to covid-19).

Tiny Talk sessions are running at Reading Children's Centres Brighter Futures for Children ~ Reading Children's Centres contact your local Children's Centre to find out more email: 

To find out more about the Speech & Language Service in Berkshire visit


Tiny, Happy People

This is a website on the BBC, for families to help develop children's communication skills. There are activities and play ideas for the early years to find out more about children's amazing early developoment.

Coram Family and Childcare Trust

Family and Childcare Trust aims to make the UK a better place for families, through research, campaigning, information provision. Working with government, employers and parents to reduce pressures on family life. To find out more about childcare and childcare costs and funding available please visit their website