During this time, it can be hard to think of new and interesting ways to practice your young child’s requesting or labeling skills. However, regular and consistent practice is vital for your child’s speech and language abilities because research shows that both therapist and parent-implemented interventions result in more progress towards a variety of goals (Graepel, 2020). Below is a list of some easy strategies to implement to encourage requesting, identifying, and labeling practice at home. These strategies are suggestions that I and other therapists would always encourage parents to utilize, despite social distancing. But they are especially important to implement now because your kids are with you and learning from you all day every day.
- Put your child’s toys in boxes with lids and/or out of reach. This will naturally encourage them to come to you and practice their requesting skills. If they are able to get everything themselves, they have no reason to ask for “more” or “open” or “help.”
- Switch up what toys/activities you use to practice requesting skills. For instance, one day complete a puzzle with your child and have them ask “more” for each new piece they need. Then, the next day, put their snack in a bag and have them ask “more” for each new piece of goldfish, fruit snack, cheerio, etc. A good app to use for this skill is Peek-A-Boo Barn; each time the child wants the barn doors to open, have them request “more,” “open,” or “please.”
- Go on walks around your neighborhood or in your backyard and ask questions along the way. For instance, you can work on colors by asking your child to point to the purple flowers, green bush, white car, etc.
These are just a few ideas to help you and your family target your child’s speech and language goals while social distancing. Remember, making home practice a priority will help your child retain and improve on what they have already learned with their therapist.