Does your child receive speech therapy at school or at a clinic?
Do you have speech words to practice at home?
If practicing your speech words has become more of a challenge than it seems it should be, take heart. As a speech language pathologist (SLP), I want you to love your speech homework. Read on for 5 SLP approved tips for keeping speech time fun at home. These tips are designed for children ages 4-8, and are ideas to increase fun while practicing your speech words. Let’s get started as I aim to help you make your speech homework fun!
First, a Caveat…
Let’s start with an important note (bear with me). In speech therapy clinic, we do more than just work on speech sounds. We help children with a wide variety of skills. In fact, SLP’s scope of practice includes a variety areas. SLPs can help with vocabulary, grammar, listening skills, social skills, voice, swallowing, and more. Many people know SLPs work on developing speech sounds (articulation). However, our area of focus doesn’t stop there.
That said, articulation work is an important part of this work. Speech sound work (articulation skills) help children be better understood. In addition, when children speak with clarity, they can share their thoughts. Articulation practice is rewarding, and can be fun for children, parents, and clinicians!
Make Speech Homework Fun – Love Your Speech Homework!
When children are working on saying specific sounds, (for example, a child says the “b” sound for the “v” sound) your speech language pathologist may give you some homework to continue practicing the skills you practice in speech clinic. This articulation homework may be given as lists of words, phrases, or sentences. This homework can also be sounds to practice in story retell or in conversation. If you are looking for a good resource for articulation word lists, Mommy Speech Therapy has some great worksheets here.
How To Make Speech Homework Fun
Now that you’ve got your homework, read on for five tips to make articulation homework more fun for preschool and early elementary school students:
1 | Use Humor
Use humor. “Don’t say _______ (word or sentence)!” or “I can’t hear you say ________ (word or sentence)!” Make a big deal of pretending to be upset (Oh no! I can’t believe you said it!), with a smile on your face in a playful manner (so your child knows you are kidding). This doesn’t work for all children (some children may not get the humor), but this trick is worth mentioning because for a many children, this game will result in laughter.
2 | Use Movement
Children often learn best with movement in play. Try: “Touch the couch and say _______!” “Hop to the kitchen and say __________!”
3 | Earn Puzzle Pieces
If your children like to do puzzles (most of my clients do!), earn one piece of a puzzle for each speech word or sentence.
4 | Pair with a Preferred Activity
This doesn’t work for all children, but sometimes a child can do a preferred activity (like coloring), and say their speech homework quite well at the same time. This works well for seated work and less well for distracting activities (you can’t say your speech words well and watch TV, of course!).
5 | Take a Break
If you need it, take a break. Yes, I said it! Sometimes, if speech homework really is causing frustration, take a break and come back to it. Remember, speech homework should be enjoyable (and not a battle of wills). If you are a client of mine, I really do want you to love your speech homework. Sometimes, that means cutting yourself some slack and skipping a week of homework. We’ll survive.
If all else fails, talk to your SLP.
If you have speech homework and it’s going well (or isn’t), make sure to connect with your speech language pathologist. As an SLP, I want clients and families to have a good experience building your child’s communication skills both inside my clinic (for speech sessions) and outside my clinic (for homework practice).
Finally, get out there and give these tips a try! Here’s to hoping you and your child have a fun and enjoyable time in your articulation practice.
I hope this blog post has helped you come up with ideas to make your child’s articulation homework more fun. My pediatric speech therapy clinic serves children who live in or near the Rogue Valley. In fact, working with children to produce clear speech sounds is one of my favorite things to do. If you are looking for a pediatric speech therapy clinic in the Rogue Valley, visit my contact page.