Using your Elf on a Shelf to Promote Your Child’s Communication Skills

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There’s a lot of hype about Elf on a Shelf.  You’ve likely seen numerous posts about the popular Elf on a Shelf on many social media outlets.  Many teachers use them in their classrooms.  Some parents love them.  Some parents….well, not so much.  We’re not suggesting you rush out and buy your child an elf, but if you do enjoy your family’s elf we’d like to suggest some ways you can use your elf as a fun way to practice and improve your child’s language and articulation skills.

1.  Ask lots of questions!  This helps your child understand and answer wh- questions.  Where is the elf?  Who is he with?  What is he doing?  Why is he doing that?  Model appropriate responses.

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2. Encourage your child to use action words to describe what your elf is doing….swinging, playing, eating?  If you child is learning to combine words or formulate sentences, use those action words in a sentence.  Elf is eating!  Elf is playing!

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3. Is your child learning spatial concepts?  Put your elf in, on, under, beside, behind, in front of things and talk about where he is.

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4.    If your child is working on articulation or phonological skills, put those skills to work when she tells you about her elf.  Listen for the sounds she is practicing in therapy, and praise her when you hear her say her sounds correctly.  Ask her to tell her father or her siblings about the elf using her good sounds!  Pour on the encouragement and praise!  Children who practice regularly at home tend to progress more quickly and won’t spend as much time in therapy.

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5.  Use your elf to target predicting and making inferences.  Where did elf go last night?  What did he do while he was gone?  Where do you think he will hide tomorrow?  What do you think he wants us to do with the mixer and cookie cutters?

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Have fun with your elf! Working on speech and language skills is so much more successful when it’s done in a fun way.  We hope you have a wonderful Christmas and holiday season.  Many blessings to you yours.

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