Tips & Tricks For Parents

How To Use Your Smartphone Photos To Develop Your Child’s Language

Whether it’s for checking your Instagram account, looking up directions or just making good old fashioned phone calls, smartphones have infinite uses. You can even use them to help build your child’s language skills!

There are many ways to use your phone to support your child’s language, but today we are going to focus on how you can use photos to create a fun learning opportunity!

Here’s how to do it:


How Do I Create Photo Albums?

First off, you’ll need to make albums to gather together photos of activities, or objects for you to talk about with your child and for your child to show others.

To make an album on an iPhone:

  1. Go into your phone’s photo gallery
  2. Select “albums” at the bottom right of the screen
  3. Then make an album by clicking on the plus sign at the top left of the screen
  4. Name the album and save it.
  5. Then select the photos you want to add into that album

To make an album on an Android phone:

  1. Go into your phone’s photo gallery
  2. Tap on the menu icon on the top right of the screen
  3. Under “Create album”, tap on “Album”
  4. Name the album and save it.
  5. Then select the photos you want to add into that album


What Kind Of Photos Can I Include?

Here are some ideas of albums you could make:

Going to Grandma’s. Include photos of:

  • You and your child getting ready to go/packing the car
  • Your child getting into the car
  • Putting on your seat belt
  • Grandma’s house
  • Grandma’s dog
  • Activities you do at Grandma’s (e.g. cooking, reading)
  • Getting in the car to go home

Favorite sounds. Include photos of:

  • Your child’s favorite sound sources (you can also use photos from the internet)
  • Animals
  • Vehicles
  • Household items

Going Shopping. Include photos of:

  • Your child getting ready (for example getting the car keys, getting Mum’s purse)
  • The shopping center
  • Items at the shop that interest your child e.g. apples, a toy
  • Your child helping to put items on the checkout counter
  • Paying for your shopping
  • Putting the groceries away at home

Family. Include photos of:

  • Each family member
  • Where everyone sleeps
  • The whole family around the table eating


How Can I Use My Photo Albums?

Sit with your child and look at each picture one at a time. Talk about each photo and then move to the next one. For each photo, attach a word, phrase or sentence, depending on your child’s level of language. For example, if your child is not yet saying a word, or is saying single words, use short phrases. If your child can say short phrases, use simple sentences etc.

Here are some examples of short phrases to add to your photos using ideas from above:

Going shopping. Talk about:

  • Getting ready, getting the car keys, getting Mum’s purse. “We’re going now! Here are the keys, shake, shake.”
  • The shopping center: “Wow! It’s big”
  • Items at the shop that interest the child e.g. apples: “Sarah liked the RED apples, yum!”
  • Putting the groceries away: “Pack away, pack away”

My family. Talk about:

  • Each family member: “Here’s Mama; here’s Grandpa”
  • Where everyone sleeps: “Its Sarah’s bed, shhh”
  • The whole family around the table eating: “We’re all hungry! Jane’s eating, mmm! Here’s Sarah, Sarah’s eating, mmm!”

Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your photos:

  • Use your albums over and over again with your child. Repetition is an important way to help your child learn.
  • Encourage others who come into your home to sit and look at the photos with you and your child. Encourage your child to use the phrases to talk about the photos with your visitors.
  • There are some apps that allow you to write on photos. You can write on the words that you are saying for each photo.
  • Remember that short videos can also be great fun to look at and talk about.


What Kind Of Skills Does This Teach?

Here is a list of the language skills your child can learn in this way:

  • Naming: Learning names of family and friends
  • Action words: Learning names for things people do
  • Describing words: Learning concepts such as “big” and “fluffy”
  • Sequencing: Learning the order of an activity
  • Narrative: Learning how to tell a story and connect ideas
  • Early literacy skills: All of the skills above will help your child learn to read later

Most of all, have fun sharing what has happened in the child’s life as you look at the photos. Remember that the best albums you make will be those about the activities which your child really enjoyed!

Looking for more easy language-learning activities to try with your kids? Take a look at our Rehab At Home series.

Find out how you can use apps to help your child’s cochlear implant rehabilitation.

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