To get young children talking, we often motivate them by showing that “using your words” can get you what you want. A simple way to achieve this is through “People Play”. People Play describes “songs, games and activities in which the fun happens when the child interacts with another person” (The Hanen Program, More Than Words). So grab a blanket or a couch cushion and enjoy some of these great ways to play and interact that will also motivate your child to request more fun! The one-word language suggestions can always be lengthened into phrases or sentences depending on your child’s expressive language level.
Playing with your child is a essential way to improve his/her speech, language, and social skills! Below are five different toys and ways to play with your child to encourage language growth and development:
Mr./Mrs. Potato Head:
- Following Directions: Ask your child to give you various parts. If this is too simple, ask him/her in a more complex way. For example, instead of asking for Mr./Mrs. Potato Head's shoes, say "the ones you put on your feet.” Sometimes this works best after the child has built Mr./Mrs. Potato Head and is asked to follow the directions of placing each part back into the box.
Learning and practicing how to correctly produce their “r” or “s” sound is certainly NOT what 8-12-year-olds want to be doing! Most would prefer to be playing video games or riding their bike. One way to make speech therapy and at-home practice a little easier is to use an app. These apps could be on the parent’s phone, the tween’s phone, or a family iPad.
We shuttle our children from soccer to karate to ballet, adding speech therapy to that agenda can seem overwhelming. However, attending and being on time for your scheduled speech therapy sessions is extremely important for your child to learn and use their new speech and language skills. When you remember what a life changing and necessary skill communicating effectively is, it will be easier to make it a priority! Be sure to schedule the therapy on a day when you can consistently be there at the same time each week. Ask for carpooling help if needed and don’t schedule other appointments during that time. The more sessions that your child misses, the longer he/she will have to attend therapy. If you can’t make it to an office every week for therapy, consider telepractice! Telepractice is a method for receiving speech-language pathology services using a computer or iPad instead of in-office appointments. This can be done from any location and may be a convenient option for your busy family.