Bedtime can be a great time to enhance your child’s speech and language skills! Utilizing this parent-child time to build skills and incorporate speech and language can be useful for a variety of purposes. See below for some fun tips to incorporate into your everyday routines!
5 tips to enhance speech and language skills:
- Follow directions: Use the bedtime routine to practice direction following. Tell children one or two steps to follow while getting ready for bed, and help when needed. Examples may include, “put your dirty clothes in the basket,” or “get under the covers.” Incorporating directions into the routine will target your child’s ability to understand location concepts as well as his auditory comprehension.
- Sequence steps: Similar to follow directions, giving your child a sequence to follow will target his ability to sequence steps. This skill is important during the school day, to ensure that your child is listening to his teacher and keeping up with his peers. Examples may include, “first, brush your teeth, and then pick out a book.” For older children a more complex sequence could include, “before you brush your teeth, put on your pajamas and pick out a book.”
- Story retell: It is very important to read to children, targeting increasing vocabulary, pre-literacy skills, auditory comprehension, as well as sentence construction. While reading to your children, periodically pose questions, such as, “who did brown bear see?” or ask, “why did the caterpillar eat so much?” After finishing a book, ask your child to retell you the story. If needed, he can use the pictures to help with the story construction.
- Build vocabulary: Reading aloud to your child is extremely beneficial for language development. When reading stories, emphasizing and reinforcing new words will enhance vocabulary skills, and explaining night time words will encourage usage. Use bedtime words like pajamas, moon, night, and stars in context, and encourage children to use new words, too!
- Narrate: Explaining what you’re doing can help expose your child to the correct production of language concepts and verb tenses. Narration can also help to increase your child’s vocabulary size. Examples may include describing activities and increasing use of adjectives (e.g., color, texture, size, etc.).