Therapists often talk about sending families home with “speech homework” at the end of each session. Supporting your child’s language skills should be a fun time for everyone involved, both child and adult. Ideally, your child won’t even realize you’re doing “homework” during this time.
Here’s some ideas on how to build language during different activities.
At the park:
- Use location words such as “under,” “on top,” “next to,” “behind,” while you take turns telling each other where to go: “go lay under the swing,” “stand next to the big rock,”“point to the top of my head”
- Use descriptors to describe what should happen next: “push fast,” “hop to the red pole,” “run slow”
- If your child isn’t using much language, model a short simple phrase they might say if they could talk. For example, while they slide down the slide, say, “I am sliding! This is fun!”
In the car:
- Make a game of finding five objects out the window of the same color
- Name as many items in a category as possible (animals: dog, cat, fish, iguana, etc.)
- Take turns singing familiar songs such as Baby Shark or Old McDonald and pause for your child to fill in words
- Narrate what is happening: “Oo, Daddy sees a stop sign so we’re going to go slower, slower, and then stop! Yay, now it’s time to go again! We’re going to pass a McDonalds now. Look, there’s a yellow “M”!
During bath time:
- Work on directions by playing a game such as Simon Says with body parts: “touch your nose,” “put the duck on your tummy”
- Use toys such as boats, ducks, and even shampoo bottles for imaginary play—pirate attack, duck picnic, hide and seek
By Barbara Bryant, MA, CCC-SLP