I am pleased to share this platform with my friend, Speech and Language Pathologist, Jann Fujimoto. Jann is the owner of Speechworks, and we both serve families with young children in our lines of work. She has shared a great piece about how you can incorporate activities throughout your child's day that promote speech and language development. Enjoy!
My children are now teenagers, but those early years of getting everyone to sleep were fueled by consistent bedtime routines. Routines help us in the morning hustle and bustle as well as in the evening at bedtime by giving us the chance to hey help our lives run a bit smoother. Things done consistently over time become routines and yield results. Whether you’re eating more vegetables, getting more steps in each day, or growing your child’s speech-language development. Researchers Betty Hart & Todd Risley (1995) found that some children heard thirty million words less than others by their 4th birthday. The children who heard 30,000,000 fewer words were less prepared academically when they began school. These children had smaller vocabularies and lower test scores than their peers when entering 3rd grade. Encouraging a child’s language development is something that parents can do each and every day.
Reading Reading to and with your child daily gives you both quiet time together while developing listening, attention, vocabulary, and pre-literacy or literacy skills. Board books are wonderful for babies and toddlers, who can help turn the pages. Books like Eric Carle’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? are colorful and beautiful. Pre-schoolers may enjoy picture books like Caldecott Medal recipients. Elementary-aged children may enjoy comic books, chapter books, and graphic novels. While graphic novels and comics might not seem like actual books, the 2020 Newberry Medal was awarded to a graphic novel for the first time.
Visiting your local public library, whether in person or online, can help nurture a child’s interest in reading. Most public libraries sponsor 1000 Books Before Kindergarten, a free program that encourages reading for children under 5.
Narrating Narrative skills are the ability to tell a story with language. As parents, we do many things for our babies and toddlers like getting dressed, changing diapers, buckling in a carseat. A wonderful way to incorporate more language into the day is to talk through what you’re doing - sort of like a play by play that a sports announcer might make for a game. So even something as simple as getting your little one into the carseat can be an opportunity to incorporate language. You might say something like, “We’re putting your left arm through the strap, now your right arm goes through the strap, and snap! We closed the buckle.” By hearing this, your little one starts to learn body parts, left/right, and sequencing. Singing
Simple songs like nursery rhymes can be fun ways to incorporate language into a child’s day. It could be a quick Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes after a diaper change or Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star just before bedtime, but songs teach children rhyming and rhythm, which are important to speech and language development. Songs like Wheels on the Bus or Five Little Monkeys also incorporate hand motions, which engage a child’s visual and motor skills.
These activities done daily over time will become routines that you won’t even have to think about to help develop your child’s speech and language skills.
Jann Fujimoto, MS CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and owner of SpeechWorks. SpeechWorks helps toddlers to teens become confident communicators. If you have concerns about your child’s speech-language development, contact SpeechWorks for a complimentary 20 minute consult call.