As a busy mom of three, I can relate to the average parent’s plight that there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. Between school, homework, after-school activities and dinner there really isn’t room for much else. So when your speech therapist tells you the things you need to work on at home to help your child progress, it can be overwhelming. I am here to give you 10 practical ways to practice speech and language on the go and with minimal prep!When riding in the car, find things that have the sound your child is working on.The grocery store is a great place to practice! See how many foods you can find with your sound in it. If your child is learning to say “l”, have a contest to see who can find the most “l-words”. Say each l-word as you find it (e.g. “lemon starts with L!”)Another idea for practicing in the grocery store is to develop vocabulary by labeling items before your child places them in the cart or have your child sort items in the cart by category. The bagger will appreciate the extra help!Many children read daily for school homework. Take this opportunity to sit with your child and discuss vocabulary, make predictions about what will happen next and ask who, what, when, where and why questions about what is happening in the book. To take it a step further you can have them tell you what happened after the story is read.If your child cannot read yet, have them describe what is happening in the pictures. Depending on if your child is verbal or not, have them point to or label actions and nouns in the book.Play the classic game “I Spy” in the car or waiting in a doctor’s office. Pick items that have your child’s speech sound or use adjectives to describe the object instead of using the name.Keep a word list in the car and have your child say their words 5 times every time you stop.Everyone needs to eat and kids love to help! Have your child help prepare a meal or snack. Talk to them about what ingredients you need and use sequencing language while preparing them (e.g. First we need to crack the eggs, next we need to add the milk)Give your child 1, 2 or 3 step directions throughout the day and watch for follow through. This is your chance to be a little silly in the middle of your busy day. Give a direction like clap your hands, stick out your tongue and bark like a dog! You can do this while you’re driving to soccer practice. You can even make it a game of Simon says if time allows.Many children need help with basic concepts such as on, off, empty, full, more, less. We use these words all of the time but rarely notice when we do! Here is a link to great ideas when teaching basic concepts. http://www.superduperinc.com/handouts/pdf/161%20Basic%20Concepts.pdf
I hope you find many of these ideas useful! As the old saying goes “Practice makes perfect!” We do know that speech and language delays do get better faster with practice. We also know that it is easier said than done! Use these tips to work it into your day without having to stress your already tight schedule. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s speech and language development please see a certified speech and language pathologist.
(Photo found on: http://www.dfwchild.com/Thrive/images/features/Mom_Overwhelmed.jpg)
Katie, Speech Therapy Team