Life is crazy and you’ve got your hands full with laundry, meals, schoolwork, internet drops, Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, little hands and more hand sanitizer. How do you possibly find time for speech during your day? We want you to know, it may not be as difficult as you think. Chances are, you are already implementing strategies during your daily family walks. Allow us to give you some inspiration for more intentional ways to make the most of each step.
- Joint attention is when you and your child are looking at the same object together. If your little one is in a stroller, stop and kneel, point to the roly-poly bug. Take this time to talk about the object, then turn and look at your child and wait for him/her to look at you. If they are not interested or unfocused, bring the object up to your face near your eye… contact!
- “I Spy something red.” We love this game because it can be used with kids in a range of ages. Pre-schoolers can participate by identifying colors of objects. 5+ Can identify objects by their category or use “I spy something you drive.” If your kiddo is working on their S-sounds, the repetition of “I spy” can train that “snake to stay in the gate” which means, keeping your tongue behind your front teeth.
- Ask WH-questions to build vocabulary and comprehension. For instance, you may ask “what is it?” (name of object-cat), “what is it doing?” (action word-lying), “where is it?” (preposition-under). Depending on the age of the child, they may answer, “cat” for all three answers or, “the cat is lying under the car.” They may need some help with this. You can model the answer and ask the question again…”The cat is lying down… What is it doing?” If that’s too easy, ask a why-question or, “What do you think it will do next?”
Use Descriptive Words
- Another way to build vocabulary is to use descriptive words. For the little ones I like to use color and/or size, for instance “I see the little snail,” or “Look, a big, red fire truck.” With older kids, play a game to see who can use the most descriptive words for a single object, “I see a big, hairy, slobbery, loud, barking, brown dog.”
Stop and Look
- Stop and look. It seems so obvious, but we forget to look at those we are talking to. At times the norm becomes shouting from one room to another or looking at our phones. So, stop and look at each other in the eyes and say something important that you want her to hear… “I like walking with you because you make me happy.”
Today is a great day to walk and talk!
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About the Author
Julie Knight is a Speech-Language Pathologist Assistant with NAPA Center since 2015. She loves to cook, eat, laugh and working with some of the best people created on earth.