We all know what kind of time pressure can be put on our day-to-day lives. Between shuffling kids between school, sports and other activities, homework, feeding their families and getting them to bed at a decent hour, many parents believe their is no time left in the day to practice speech sounds! However, communication is happening every day, every moment, everywhere. Here are some tips to help encourage your students’ parents to work on speech activities with their children every day:
1. W.O.W… Word of the Week!
Encourage your students to be practicing a Word of the Week – this is a word that matches at least one of the skills that they have been working on. Ensure that you have communicated this word of the week to the parents so that they can be practicing it in as many places as possible outside of sessions. This can empower the child to be a ‘pro’ at the word and start teaching others!
2. Sing a Little Song:
Music and rhyme are both great tools to faciliate learning and memory. Encourage parents to sing and play with their children to help grow their language skills. The parent may be reluctant to sing, if they are worried about the sound of their voice. Remind them that the child won’t care if they are a good singer or not, and it is a great opportunity for the child to learn!
Some examples of kids songs that suit this purpose are: Baa, Baa, Black Sheep, B-I-N-G-O, Happy and You Know It, and I’m a Little Teapot. A great resource for children’s songs (and the tunes to those songs) is the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ Kids page: http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/games/songs/childrens/
3. Questions and Answers
Encourage your parents to ask their children questions that they would not know the answer to. For example, they could ask the children ‘Why is the sky blue’? or ‘What would happen if you were the grownup for the day?’ Not only will these questions encourage the children to use a full-range of speech noises, but they can also help the children draw comparisons, form their own conclusions, and stimulate their imagination.
4. Routine & Repetition:
Encourage your students’ parents to think about routines that occur every day. This could include getting dressed in the morning, packing their lunch, driving to school, etc. While they are doing these activities, they can practice words that correspond with each activity. For example, if your child’s target sound is ‘S’, you could practice words like ‘sweater’, ‘sandwich’, and ‘seatbelt’. Daily repetition of these routines and skills will naturally help the child improve.
5. High Five:
High five is a fun and easy way to spend five minutes practicing every day. Parents could do this during any break in activity – it only takes five seconds! Have the parent pick one word to say five times, or five different words. Instruct the parent to hold up their fist with the palm facing their child, and ask the child to copy them as they say one word for each finger. For example, if the target sound is ‘TH’, they could use the words ‘Think’, ‘Thing’, ‘Three’, These’, ‘Thumb’! Then, after lifting up one finger per word their hand will be ready for a high-five!
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