Summer provides lots of opportunities to encourage speech and language development for children of all ages! This summer is a little different. We’ve all been stuck at home. Both parents and kids might be getting a little stir crazy. These are some easy things you can incorporate into your daily activities to enhance your child’s language development. I know many of us have been in survival mode these past few months, but this is also a good time to focus on your child’s speech and language goals. Contact me if you have concerns and are interested in a free screening, evaluation, or therapy.
1. NARRATE AND MODEL
One of the best things you can do for your child is to narrate your day. Use grammatically correct sentences to describe what you see or are doing. Try to avoid asking too many questions (I’m going to write a blog post in the future all about questions!).
“I’m hungry for a snack.”
“You found your red ball.”
“It’s time for your nap.”
“Let’s go play outside!”
2. GET OUTSIDE
Getting outside is a great way to expand your child’s vocabulary. Talk about the things your child is seeing and feeling. Go for walks (stroller, birds, dogs, walk), let your child explore in the grass (squish, dirt, stick, tree, squirrel), splash in a water table (pour, scoop, cup) or kiddie pool (splash, sit, water, cold, wet, kick).
“We’re getting in your stroller.”
“It is hot outside.”
“The sun is so bright!”
“I see a dog on a leash.”
“I hear a bird. The bird says ‘tweet tweet.'”
“You found a stick!”
“The grass feels squishy on my toes.”
“Pour the water!”
“Splash! You’re getting all wet.”
“The water feels nice and cool.”
I can’t say enough about all of the benefits books provide. There are so many language skills you can target during book reading, but keep it simple! Maybe as you read a book, go beyond the text and point out other things you see in the picture to highlight different vocabulary words. If your child is older, maybe you try making predictions about what might happen on the next page. If your child is hesitant or says “I don’t know,” you can make a prediction and maybe they will share when they are ready.
Here are just a few fun summer books:
Llama Llama Sand and Sun by Anna Dewdney
The Pout Pout Fish Series by Debra Diesen
Swimmy by Leo Lionni
Froggy Learns to Swim by Jonathan London
Summer Days and Nights by Herbert Wong Yee
Ladybug Girl Series by David Soman and Jacky Davis
The Summer Visitors by Karel Hayes – Books like this with few words are fantastic to expand your child’s language! Talk about what you see in the pictures and follow your child’s lead. For older children, ask them to tell you what they think is happening in the story based on the pictures or make predictions about what might happen next.
This can be a hard time for children as they miss seeing friends and family regularly. We want to avoid screen time for littles, but using screens to interact with others is an exception. Use Facetime or other video chatting apps to connect with family and friends. I often Facetime family members with my daughter and I model language for her by telling the other person about our day. I might say, “We went for a long walk and then we splashed in the pool.” My daughter (who is only 17 months) might say, “pool” or “splash” to participate!
These are just a few things you can do this summer. Follow me on Instagram for more tips!