Summer is approaching and you may have more time to spend with you child. You may want to take advantage of this time to help your child develop better communication skills. Because these skills are so important for success in school, every child can benefit from their continued development.
You can help anytime and anywhere-car trips, grocery shopping, making dinner, at a park. The following suggestions can be used with children at most grade and reading levels-and throughout the year as well as during summer.
Listening Is Important. When you listen, your child will be encouraged to talk more. When you listen, you also teach your child to listen-and listening is one of the main ways children learn.
- Show you’re listening by rephrasing what your child is saying or commenting on it. For example, your child says. “Barbie is my friend.” You say, “You like Barbie, don’t you?”
- Look at your child to show you are listening.
Talk With Your Child. Watch a favorite TV show together and then discuss it; ask your child the most important ideas and what he/she liked best in the show. Have a conversation with your child whenever you can-during a meal, on a walk, or doing an errand.
- Most children make some mistakes in speech. Try not to comment of the mistake. Simply repeat what was said using the correct words or sounds. For example, you child says. “I goed outside.” You say. “Oh, you went outside.”
- If you don’t understand what you child is saying, ask him/her to repeat it or ask a leading question based on what you did understand (“Tell me more about what you did.”).
- If you child omits words, you can help by expanding on what he/she said. For example, your child says, “Tommy shoe lost.” You say, “Oh Tommy’s shoe is lost.”
Encourage Reading. Read to your child. Let your child see that you read newspapers, magazines, and books. Keep magazines and books around the house.
- Go to the library together. Keep a list of the books your child has read.
- Subscribe to a magazine for your child. Give paperback books as gifts.
Enjoy Language. Help your child to be creative with language.
- Tell stories, play word games, give diaries as gifts.
- Write letters to friends and relatives on your vacation.
As the speech-language pathologist at your child’s school, I work with children who have problems with speech, language, and related disorders. If you have any concerns regarding the way your child speaks or listens, please call me in the fall.
Have a pleasant summer!
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