Constant practice is very important when children are acquiring new speech sounds. Having your child progress in their speech skills requires practice, just as practicing piano or sports skills is necessary for improvement. Many parents do a great job in helping their child to practice speech sounds, but it’s important to switch up the routine so that the child doesn’t become resistant or bored.
Here Are 9 Fun & Easy Tips To Practice With And Encourage Speech In Your Child:
- Make practice a routine. To get into the habit of consistent practice, set a certain time each day (e.g. during breakfast, before bedtime) to go over speech.
- On the Go? Play I-spy in the car, at a restaurant, or at the park to find different items with the targeted speech sound.
- Play family board games. Include speech practice before each turn of the game. If other children are playing, have them practice a different skill before their turn (e.g. read a page of a book or do three math problems).
- Think of silly sentences. Try to come up with silly sentences using the speech sound multiple times in the sentence (e.g. Cindy went swimming in ice-skates).
- Sing songs. Find fun songs that have the targeted sound, and sing with your child.
- Use a sound while discussing the day. Once the child can successfully say his sound in words and sentences, help him practice using it in conversation by setting aside time each day to have him tell you a story while discussing his speech sound. Dropping a bean or a marble into a cup each time you hear his sound helps the child to visually see how many times he is correctly using it.
- Does your child love to watch TV? Practice during commercial breaks on TV. If your child is working on using his sound in sentences or during conversation, have him describe what already happened in the TV show or predict what might happen while he is consciously using the targeted sound.
- Practice speech while reading. If your child is able to read, have him use his good speech sound while reading aloud. If the book is one that you can write in (or copy a few pages of), underline the speech sounds to give them a reminder as they say that word.
- Praise your child. If you hear your child making the targeted sound correctly, praise him for using his good sound. During practice, if he is really struggling, praise his “good trying” so that frustration does not build.
Based on the child’s ability to make the sounds, the activities will need to be adapted to using the sound in words, during sentences, or during conversation. Talk with your speech-language pathologist about ways to incorporate practicing speech into their everyday routine.