Do you ever feel like it has to be either all work or all play as you help your child gain new speech and language skills?
Here are a few ways to practice new skills so that is seems like a good balance of both. Keep these in mind as the beginning of the school year unwinds:
- If your child attends day care, Head Start, or school, try to ask them about what they did during their day when you were not with them. If your child has only a few words, give them a choice of things you know they might have done (For example: "Did you go outside or paint today?") If your child has an extensive vocabulary but you are focusing on a few sounds, try to pull out some word targets from the response they give you. (For example: "Oh! Thanks for telling me about your day. I'm glad you got to ______ and _______. And good job trying those words. We've been working on that sound!")
- Keep in mind that other children are a great way to encourage good speech and language skills. Plan play dates with old or new friends so that your child can have extra time listening to another child's speech. One on one time with a friend can provide feedback when your child say things that don't quite sound the same. If your child doesn't have many words then playing with a friend will give them even more opportunities to want to use language!
- Practice while you are in the car going either to school or someplace fun on the weekends. Sitting in a car seat provides an opportunity for multiple attempts at sounds, words, phrases, etc.
- Don't feel like you have to be on the floor playing with your child after it's been a long day for both of you. Just make sure to get on your child's eye level when you do speak to him or her so that they can see your mouth and lips when you talk.
Your child will appreciate the help you are offering them, even if their gratitude is not able to be seen. Remember, you know your child the best so incorporate their likes and dislikes into your practice and continue praising them for their efforts!