In For Parents, Tips & Tricks

For parents of children ages 3—9 years.

How can you help your child cochlear implant recipient continue developing their listening and language skills during the holiday season? Cochlear implant rehabilitation activities! For the holidays, celebrating often means celebrating with lots of people. Friends, family, extended family, pets, and more gathering together can make for an enjoyable time but it also creates challenging listening environments that can make it more difficult for children to learn and engage in.

So, with the holiday season just around the corner here are some cochlear implant rehabilitation activities that you can use to help your child listen and learn at his or her best.

Holiday Cochlear Implant Rehabilitation Activities

One of the best ways to support your child develop listening skills is with repetition. Teach him or her about the common vocabulary and concepts that come along with the holidays before, during, and after each experience. By bringing up these words and concepts over and over again you can really help your child understand and remember them better.

Here are three ways you can do that:

  1. Read story books that include seasonal-related themes. For younger children these could be books like The Polar Express, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, or The Night Before Christmas. For more advanced readers you could try a longer story book. For more tips check out our blog post about reading to your child cochlear implant recipient. Remember, the key to developing your child’s listening skills while reading books is through interaction. Enjoy reading to them, and then talk about the stories together.
  2. Create an experience book with your child. As you’re going through the holiday season talk with your child about what activities will come up. Then when you’re doing these activities, talk about what you’re doing and take photos of your child. After the activities take these photos and paste them into a scrap book, so that you can go through the book and talk about the pictures with a story that reinforces the words and concepts you explained earlier. Or, you can use magazine clippings or just draw pictures in the scrap book if you don’t have photos. Make it your own work of art!
  3. A more short-term version of the experience book could be created by taking photos on your phone as your child goes about holiday-related daily activities. Then when you have some quiet time with your child go through the photos and talk about what happened in them.

By using and repeating specific words throughout these experiences you can help to support your child’s hearing and listening development, as well as help them to understand and enjoy the holidays better.

Helping Your Child to Hear Best

When families gather all together in a room, there’s one thing that’s unavoidable: increased background noise. For cochlear implant recipients, background noise can be intrusive and keep them from understanding their best.

But, there are ways that you can ensure a good listening environment:

  1. Be aware of background noise, and try to reduce it. Sometimes that could be as simple as turning down the radio or television, or you could use soft furnishings like cushions or carpets throughout a room.
  2. Stay close by when you’re talking with them. Your voice can get lost if you try to shout across the room.
  3. Speak at a normal volume as much as is possible. Of course sometimes you might need to raise your voice in a noisy environment, but shouting won’t help your child to understand you better.
  4. When you are speaking, use natural gestures if you need to. For example if you call your child to come over to you, then also wave your hands in a “come here” gesture.
  5. To help get their attention, call their name first while using inflections in your voice. Try speaking in a high-low or sing-song style, like “NIIIICH-o-LAS, Nicholas would you like something to eat?” or “BENNNNN-ja-min, Benjamin come over here”.
  6. Let your guests know how to communicate best with your child so that they don’t feel overwhelmed or unsure of what to do. You can even print out these cochlear implant rehabilitation activities to show to them!

If you’d like to read more cochlear implant rehabilitation activities, check out our blog post with the three steps you can take to help your child hear during new events or activities.

What cochlear implant rehabilitation activities do you have for other parents of children with cochlear implants?

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