Play helps children learn language and communication skills. Children are motivated to connect and learn when it is functional and meaningful and fun to them. The language used in play, for example encourages the development of turn-taking and conversation. When children are engaged in play, they use language to interact with others. Turn your daily routine into fun play. Your daily routine offers many opportunities for you to help your child learn to play and develop language.
- Loading Dishes: A simple task like loading the dishes offers an opportunity for you and your child use language, take turns and play. For example, when loading the dishes or unloading the dishes talk to your child. Improve your child’s language by labeling your actions and naming the items/objects. You can say, “Papa is putting the fork in the dish washer.” When it’s your child’s turn, you can say, “Your turn. Put the fork in the dishwasher.” Be patient, if your child does not do it correctly. Do it with your, remember your child and don’t do it for them. Remember your child is watching to see what you are doing.
- Grocery Shopping: Grocery shopping can be a fun way to build your child’s language, play and memory. Before going to the grocery store, take out your smart phone and with the help of your child, take pictures of the things you need from the store. Help your child learn the names of the items by taking turns when taking the pictures. At the store encourage your child to remember the names of the items that you took pictures off. It is also a fun way to help your child learn about categories by going isle by isle. Label the isles, fruits, vegetables, breakfast etc.
- Waiting at the Restaurant: Encourage your child with positive language when you see your child waiting before your order is taken. Waiting can be hard, especially if they are hungry, but teach them that waiting can be fun, by playing a fun game such as, “I spy with ….” If you have never played this game before here is a link to get you started https://www.tripsavvy.com/how-to-play-i-spy-3267651.
About the author:
Uduak (Udie) Osom holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology from San Jose State University. Udie has served students of all ability levels from preschool through grade 12, for over 20 years. She is very passionate about neuro-developmental disabilities and social-cognitive disabilities. She is the owner/director of Innovative Therapy Services, a pediatric speech, language and social skills clinic in Santa Clara, CA. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.