The holiday season is a perfect to try out new listening environments with your child with a hearing implant! During this time, you may visit family, go to parties, and attend special events such as carols and plays. These outings offer the perfect opportunity for your child to:
- explore new and exciting sounds
- learn new words
- participate in new social experiences
Here are some ideas to help your child to develop their listening and language skills this festive season.
1: Listen To Carols And Festive Songs Together
Together you can learn the words and sing along together, always encouraging your child to join in. Songs are a fantastic activity for your child as they are repetitive. They enable your child to practice listening to and using new sounds, words, and sentences in an interactive way. Depending on your child’s age and stage of listening, they may be able to one or all of the following with festive carols:
- Sing all of the words.
- Join in with the chorus.
- Show that they are listening by recognizing the rhythm of the song and hum along or perform actions, such as in ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’.
2: Go To Social Events
Social events like family gatherings and festive parties are a great chance for your child to practice and learn new words, but it’s important to prepare them beforehand. These are some things you can do to help your child:
- Teach your child new words that they may come across. This might be names new people, places, or foods. This will help your child to understand and use these words more easily when they get there.
- Talk with your child about who is going to be there and what they can expect will happen throughout the event.
- While you are there, take pictures or collect souvenirs to add to an experience book. For some days or weeks after the event, you can encourage your child to share their experience book with others will give them further practice using the words they have learnt, recalling events and telling stories in the correct order.
3: Decorate Your Home Or Tree Together
- Before you start, talk to your child about decorating the house. Unpack or make decorations together to support your child to become familiar with new vocabulary.
- Extend your child’s understanding and use of describing words by highlighting and repeating these in your own speech. Follow your child’s lead, talk about what they are interested in and add new describing words. Talk about the “shiny star”, “sparkly wrapping” and “colorful ornaments”.
- Talk to your child about where you are going to put the decorations in the house. This is a great opportunity to teach your child location words, such as: top, middle, bottom, low, high, around, under, above.
- Practice following instructions by taking turns with your child to put decorations on the tree “Can you get the small gold bauble? Let’s put it at the top of the tree”. Ask your child to then give you directions in return, “Should I hang this red star on the bottom, or in the middle?” Support your child to find decorations using their listening before you look or point towards the item to develop their auditory skills and pathways.
Special events and new experiences make wonderful listening and language learning opportunities for your child. We wish you a happy, safe, and enjoyable holiday season with your family and friends!
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