The holidays are just around the corner and there is nothing better than spreading holiday cheer with loved ones. While enjoying the holiday season, why not encourage the development of speech and language?
This holiday season is full of sensory experiences that can increase receptive and expressive language skills. While decorating the tree, lighting the menorah, or making hot cocoa for example, talk about:
• Sounds you hear (wind whooshing, snow crunching, oven beeping)
• Textures and temperatures you feel (cold snow, prickly Christmas tree, smooth frosting)
• Scents you smell (pine, the sweet smell of cookies coming out of the oven)
• Tastes from your meal or holiday treats (bitter, sour, sweet, salty)
While playing in the snow or baking seasonal treats, enhancing grammar skills can be done easily. Label the different action words happening around you, such as:
Then expand on those verbs by adding pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs such as:
• They are sledding quickly.
• She is baking delicious cookies.
• He is putting up the bright Christmas lights.
Finally, while enjoying a nature walk through the snow, you can target any sound for articulation practice by highlighting words with your child’s specific sound. For instance, if your child is working on producing L sounds, go on a scavenger hunt for:
Our L Story
“Once upon a time, there was a little elf who loved to laugh and be jolly. He was so excited to ride the sleigh and drink delicious hot cocoa while looking at the Christmas lights.
If your child is working at the sentence level, make up silly sentences that include each word. If they are moving into the conversation level, help them make up an imaginary story packed full of their unique words. To help with your child’s awareness, record your child telling their story and play it back to them to see if they can hear any errors.
Speech-Language pathologists can help you lay the groundwork for building up your child’s communication skills in different environments. This doesn’t only allow them to use those abilities in a variety of contexts, but makes speech and language fun and engaging!
Let’s brainstorm how you can use your family’s holiday traditions to encourage your child’s speech and language development!
Written by Rachel Canan, M.S., CCC-SLP