Summer is fast approaching, and if you are like me, you have parents asking, “how should I help my child during the summer?” Aside from the options of accessing private therapy or a homework book full of worksheets, there are lots of ways to help improve a child’s language skills during the summer that you can share with your families. Here are five:
Read, Read, Read. Books are such a great way to work on speech and language skills, no matter the age of the child. They expose children new vocabulary, model appropriate grammar, talk about the book and increase a child’s general knowledge about the world. Even older children enjoy listening to their parents read or alternate between reading to your child and them reading to you. This allows parents and children to talk about the book therefore working on reading and language skills. Visit the library. It has a wealth of books and has great programs for young children. Bonus is that that many library programs are free or offered at a low cost.
Be a tourist in your own hometown, Visiting your community’s zoo or science center, museums and even amusement parks provide lots of great opportunity to build vocabulary, build their knowledge about a topic and allows for lots of opportunities to talk about their favorite part of the day, and what they saw. For families that might have difficulty paying for admission, check and see if there are days where the price of admission is waved or significantly reduced. Some communities also provide special passes for families who could not afford to pay.
Visit the playground. Playgrounds provide lots of opportunities to work on language such as prepositions. They are also great areas to help children learn and practice important social skills such as meeting new children, and negotiating with peers when playing.
Limit Screen Time. Many iPad apps, computer games, and some TV programs are designed and marketed as educational and helpful for improving communication. However, talking and interacting with others is more beneficial. When they are playing on their favorite electronic device or watching something, encourage parents to get along side and talk about that. If YouTube is important in the child’s life then watch some of their favorite videos, channels etc… and then have parents talk about what they saw, what was the child’s or their favorite part.
Spend time together and have fun. Spending time together and having fun and interacting is so helpful for children who have speech or language delays. It allows children to be themselves and share with parents what is important in their lives and allows parents to share what is important in theirs. That sharing and times spent together will benefit both parents and children.
Click here for a parent friendly handout of these suggestions and I hope that whenever summer starts for you, it will relaxing and rejuvenating.