Let’s face it, your child probably feels like he or she has enough homework, and to have additional homework is never fun. Especially when it is extra work that they have to do, that their peers don’t! We have made a list of 5 ways to practice speech sounds in the home.
1. While you are driving
When you are driving, it is a perfect time to get some drill practice in for you son’s or daughter’s speech sounds. You can play “I spy…” and describe or label items that have their targeted speech sound; or you could try playing a game of categories! This is an easy one to play in the car, while you are making supper, or while you are out walking! To play categories have your child select a category (i.e.; food) and then your son or daughter has to name as many items targeting their speech sounds for that category. For example, if their speech sound is /k/, your son or daughter could say, “cookie, carrot, ketchup, etc”.
2. At meal time
Meal time is typically when you all sit down as a family and discuss your day, talk about upcoming events etc. It is a natural time for families to reconnect and be present.This is a perfect time to practice speech sounds. Your son or daughter can practice a list of words as you pass around the food. If you have siblings that have speech work they can practice their speech homework together in that moment! Practicing for a short period of time throughout the day, across multiple settings, is more beneficial for your son or daughter than sitting down and “drilling” for half an hour each day. It’s also more natural!
3. Reading time
While you are reading books out loud with your son or daughter when you come across a word with their target sound, draw attention to it. Say, “Hey! There’s our speech sound we’re suppose to practice!” Then take a moment to say the word a couple times with clear speech before you continue on with your story.This is natural way to illustrate to your child how their speech sounds fit in their every day routines, and it naturally builds in awareness!
4. Family Game Night
We often will use board games in the therapy room to keep our clients and students motivated and engaged… You can do this in the home as well! Have a family board game night, and before your son or daughter roll the dice, get them to say a word once or twice. Build the practice into a fun routine for them.
5. Mad Libs, reading out loud, and general carry over
Getting your son or daughter to carry over their speech sounds into conversation is always the hardest. It’s about building awareness and ownership for your son or daughter. Try using Mad libs with your son or daughter and have them fill in the blanks using words that contain their target word. Then have them read their mad lib out loud while using their clear speech sounds.
Or even have a conversation with your son or daughter but tell them, “for the next 5 minutes we are going to use our good speech sounds”, and hold them accountable for each mistake in those next 5 minutes.
Be creative in how you target speech practice in the home and be mindful of keeping their practice motivating, engaging and fun for them. Also remember it is ok to take a break! If you feel like your son or daughter is getting frustrated or discouraged with their speech sounds, take a step back and admit to your son or daughter, “Hey this is hard… why don’t we take a break for today and I will read the rest of your speech words out loud to you, ok?”