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Why is voice care so important?

  1. Your voice box and vocal cords are at risk of wear and tear.
  1. Children’s vocal cords are small and very delicate.

  1. They vibrate together every time a child talks, shouts, laughs, coughs and makes other noises.
  1. When children talk their vocal cords vibrate together about 300 times per second.
  1. If this vibration is strained or forced the vocal cords can become sore.
  1. If the voice is not rested, or it has been strained or used for a long time, it becomes difficult for the redness and swelling to settle down. The sound of the voice may also change because of this.
Voice


How can I keep my child’s voice healthy?

Using / resting your voice

  1. Shouting, screaming, singing, calling, reading aloud (in a noisy atmosphere) are hard work for the voice, and should be avoided where possible.
  2. Your child should not whisper as this can tire the voice and dry out the vocal cords.
  3. Your child should not use strange throat noises or imitate characters with ‘funny’ voices, e.g. Bart Simpson.
  4. Throat clearing and coughing also weaken and irritate the voice. It is important to sip water frequently. Your child should have access to water at all times.
  5. Encourage your child to rest their voice if it hurts or encourage quiet play activities as this allows the vocal cords to rest and recover.
  6. Encourage your child to have some “quiet time” at the end of the day as this will give their vocal cords a chance to rest / recover from a busy day of voice use. 


Food / Drink

  1. Encourage your child to drink plenty of water as this will keep the mouth and throat moist.
  2. Try to avoid or limit your child’s consumption of caffeinated drinks (e.g. coke, tea) as they can dry out the mouth and voice.
  3. Try to avoid or limit your child’s consumption of very hot drinks and spicy foods as these can dry out the mouth and voice.


Other

  1. Reduce the amount of background noise when talking to the child so they do not need to “talk over” the noise.
  2. Smoky environments irritate the throat and should be avoided.
  3. Steam inhalations (2x per day) – using hand hot water – will help to soothe the throat. It is also particularly helpful in controlling mucus and coughing during throat and chest infections.
  4. A steamy bath or shower has the same effect.


Information adapted from Great Ormond Street Hospital – Encouraging your child to produce a healthy voice