Let’s be real, life can get super busy! Between all the coming and going it can feel overwhelming trying to fit another thing in. As a speech therapist, I always tell parents, “I never want to add anything to your schedule. I want to find a way to target our goals in what you are already doing.” Not only is working on speech and language skills in your everyday routines simple, it actually is one of the most natural ways to work on language skills. You don’t have to sit down and have a structured activity planned to help your child reach their goals. Here are 3 of times to targets speech and language skills in your everyday routines.
- Car rides: Many of us spend a lot of time in the car. What better time do we have our kids as a “captive audience.” Depending upon your child’s age level below is a variety of activities to try.
- Narration: On your daily route to school, the grocery store, or even therapy, narrate what you see on your drive. Use simple but yet grammatically correct statements to describe what you see. “I see a red truck.” “Look the cow is eating.” “Stopping at the red light.”
- Music: Singing is a great way to target early expressive language skills and connected speech. However, when jamming out in the car, try turning off the radio and singing simple routine songs with your kid. Once the child begins to learn the song, you can start singing the first part of the song and providing wait time for your child to fill in the rest. “The wheels on the bus go…____”
- Silly Sentences: If you have an older child working on language or articulation goals, keep their speech homework in the car. While driving have your child bring out their work and target their phonemes in words or by coming up with silly sentences. You can even make it a competition with siblings to see who can come up with the silliest sentence with target words.
- Bath time: Bath time is a great time to work on language skills. In therapy we love using bubbles to work on a variety of concepts. Add some bubbles to your child’s bath and work on imitating actions (early expressive language skill) by popping the bubbles, blowing the bubbles, or targeting naming them. If your child has a lot of bath toys, try playing with one or two at a time, so your child stays engaged in play with you. You can use the toys to work on naming actions (ex. The duck is swimming.) or spatial concepts (ex. The duck is on top of the water. The duck is under the water.) Lastly, while bathing you can target labeling body parts. You can work on this progressively through narrating what you are bathing (ex. I am washing your head. Now I am washing your arms.). Once your child begins to name the body parts you can ask them, “What should we wash first?”
- Meals: Meal time is a great time to target speech and language goals. Depending upon your child’s age level below is a variety of activities to try.
- Describe food: Whether your child is a picky eater or loves all foods this activity is a great way to encourage exploration of new foods but also target language skills. Talk about your food items using descriptive words, hot/cold, crunchy/ soft, colors, etc. Using descriptors is a great way to build 2-3+ utterances by combining adjectives with the nouns your child is producing, (ex.green peas, hot oatmeal, crunchy cookie.).
- “Wh” Questions: In speech therapy we target a variety of “Wh” questions (ex. who, what, where, when, and why). Not only is this a great way to get your child talking about their day, it is also therapeutic in helping your child process what happened in there day and use their inferencing skills to assess the day’s activities. This targets world knowledge skills as well as a variety of social language skills. Not only can this activity help your child answer questions about their day, but also work on learning how to ask questions by asking parents and siblings about what happened in their day.
The Therapy S.P.O.T. – Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy