Use Everyday Routines to Build Language Skills
Routines with your child like setting the table or getting ready for bed don’t need to be boring. Use routine and repetition to help your child build language skills in fun and playful ways! The activities below are perfect for children aged between three and nine years old.
Repetition helps build language skills. By saying the same words or phrases each time you perform an action, you can build and reinforce your child’s understanding of them. Using everyday routines, you can help your child to learn specific words and phrases without needing any special toys or materials.
Use these and other daily routines to build language skills:
- Bath time
- Cooking or preparing meals
- Sharing a book
- Packing away toys
- Preparing to leave the house
- Putting on clothing in the morning and getting undressed in the evening
- Going to bed
7 Strategies to Support Learning:
1) Use straightforward, but meaningful, language:
- “Up, up, up! Jump up on to your bed.”
- “Your pajamas are under your pillow.”
- “Come and sit next to dad, ready for dinner.”
2) Prepare your child by setting the scene:
- “It’s night time, it’s time for bed!”
- “It’s almost time for an afternoon nap. Let’s read a book.”
- “I am ready to serve dinner. Let’s set the table together.”
- “We need to get ready to see Mary for our listening lesson. What do we need to prepare?”
3) Talk about what you are doing:
- As you hold the toothpaste, say “Squeeze the toothpaste onto the toothbrush.”
- While you are holding out clothes for the child to wear, say “Here are your pants.”
- As you are preparing to leave the house, say “I have your experience book and snack. I have my purse, phone and keys in my bag. We are ready to go!”
4) Name each object when you first use it or approach it:
- “We will need knives and forks to set the table.”
- “Don’t forget to tie your shoe laces.”
- “Your cars need to be put in the red box.”
5) Imitate the sounds that your child will hear:
- “The bath water goes splash, splash, splash!”
- “Pull the zipper up, up, up!”
- “Close the lid of your toy box—crash!”
6) Encourage your child to say the word or phrase, or use the sound or name of the object you are playing with:
- “What sound does your toy make?” If it’s dog for example, then encourage them to say “Woof woof!”
- “Where is the broom and dustpan?” Look together and encourage your child to say “In the closet!”
- “Time to brush your teeth—brush, brush, brush!”
7) Give your child a choice:
- “Do you want the red shirt or the yellow shirt?”
- “Do you want to put out the glasses or the plates?”
- “Do you want to have a bath now or after dinner?”
Encourage your child to play an active role in all of these activities so that he or she engages with the words you’re using. By doing these exercises over and over again you can help your child to build language skills. Once they’ve mastered single words, move to using short phrases, and then try using longer sentences. Frequent interactions with this language will supercharge your child’s progress!
This post was written with help from Joanna Brachmaier, a rehabilitation and education specialist at MED-EL.
Like this post on building your child’s language skills? Read our tips for using smartphone or tablet apps to build your child’s spoken language skills!
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