Speech Therapy For Kids: Exercises, Activities And Tips For Parents
There’s a variety of reasons why parents might benefit from trying some speech therapy activities at home with their kids. Some might be looking for ways to help encourage or enhance their children’s development in this area, while others might be dealing with speech or language problems or delays. If your child is having difficulties in this area, there are resources that you can access for speech-language pathology services. Speech-language pathologists are professionals that help asses challenges in communication, and they also provide treatment programs to help improve these identified issues. Although a professional is your best bet for dealing with these speech and language problems, there are valid reasons why parents might want to also do some things at home to help expand their kids’ skills in these areas.
What is Speech Therapy?
If a child is having trouble either communicating or understanding others, they may need intervention to help them in these areas. Speech therapy is the intervention that can help a child improve their language skills. This can be either expressive language (expressing themselves) or receptive language (understanding others). Speech therapy is typically facilitated by a speech-language pathologist.
Speech therapy can include helping children with things like fluency and articulation. It can also be used to help kids with comprehension when it comes to language. This may include reading and the use of visuals. Ultimately, the goal of speech therapy is to help the child communicate in a way that is clear, fluent, and understandable. It also aims to help children improve their skills when it comes to interpreting and understanding language.
Reasons Why Your Child May Benefit From Speech Therapy
Speech therapy is a good idea for kids who have some trouble when it comes to communication. This might include children with disabilities or medical issues. Other children that might benefit from speech therapy are those who have difficulty in being understood, those who may have issues with fluency (such as stuttering) and those who have trouble communicating their thoughts etc. via speech.
Exercises To Try At Home
There are a variety of exercises that you can do at home to help your child’s speech development.These can include:
- Flashcards- identifying pictures, numbers, or sight words
- Interpretive reading games- reading and then talking about what happened, identifying emotions, etc.
- Board Games- memory match games, or simple identification games (like Guess Who) work well
- Journaling- writing what happened in the day, talking through the events of the day together
- Mirror exercises- Going in front of a mirror and making word letter sounds, watching what facial movements they make
Activities To Try At Home
Some activities that can help improve speech are one that involve a lot of opportunities to talk to each other and to use the facial muscles that are important for speech. For example, activities that engage the lips, tongue and cheek are a great way to practice these muscles.
- Blowing bubbles- this is a great way to use the facial muscles. And it’s fun!
- Making silly noises with letter sounds- this can help kids develop and practice the sounds that are necessary for speech
- Going for nature walks- doing things like a nature scavenger hunt is a great way to keep the conversation going, while letting your kids practice identifying and communicating what objects they see.
- Repeat what your child says and add more- this helps them learn more language to use in the future
Tips For Parents
If you think that your child has a delay, it’s important that you seek help from a professional to have them assessed. This will result in the best possible outcome, as they are specially trained in programs that will help your child succeed in communication. That being said, if you are trying to help improve things on your own from at home, trying some of these activities is a good start. It can take a long time to get your child seen by an SLP, and any things you can do at home to encourage language can only help.
It’s important that if you do notice problems in speech to be patient and try not to call attention to it. Try not to rush their speech or put too much pressure on the situation. It will be easier for them to gain new skills this way.
Every child develops differently, this is important to remember.
If your child is having some issues with speech and language, you don’t need to fret. In many cases, communication can be vastly improved by taking the time to work on practicing and enhancing the basic skills necessary for speech.