One of the easiest and most effective ways to work on your child's language skills at home is during routines. Daily routines include meal time, getting dressed, bed time, and bath time, to name a few. During bath time, parents can easily strengthen their child's language skills without feeling like they are doing work, or adding another chore to the to-do list.
Why choose bath time?
The majority of babies and toddlers enjoy bath time! When your child is in a good mood, he or she is more likely to play, engage with you, and process new skills. Additionally, your child is contained during bath time- which makes it easy for them to focus on YOU and the toys/materials you have selected. Finally, bath time is a daily routine which requires a parent to be present with the baby or toddler. This provides the perfect opportunity for child-caregiver interaction, since you both are already in the same area!
What do I do?
Build Vocabulary: If your child only has a few words in his or her vocabulary, you can introduce new words. Go to the dollar store and buy water toys, boats, or dolls. You can work on labeling animals (e.g., duck, frog, whale), describing boats (e.g., big, small, red, blue), or name body parts on a doll (e.g., eyes, nose). If your child is already a pro at labeling objects, work on adding action words or adjectives (e.g.: swim, go, dive, big, little). Be creative!
Expand on Utterances: For children who use 1 or 2 words, you can use this time to expand on his or her utterances. For example, if a child says "duck", parent can respond "It's a yellow duck", "ducky swims", or "ducky goes IN the water". This provides a model for your child and allows him to see what is coming next in terms of language development. It is not necessary for your child to repeat what you are saying. Remember: your child is soaking it all in just by listening to you while playing!
Play Skills: For children who are working on developing age-appropriate play skills, bath time provides ample opportunities to practice. Work on making your bath toys swim, dive, jump, and/or splash. Have fun! Instead of lining up boats in the water, show your child how the boats drive around in the bathtub, crash into each other, etc.
Here are some words to target during bath time: wet, dry, wash, soap, water, swim, jump, splash, scrub.
Remember to have fun and enjoy this bonding time with your little one! The more fun your child is having, the more they are learning in a natural and effective way! If you have questions regarding your child's language or articulation skills, please contact a speech-language pathologist. Reach out to Buckhead Speech Specialists today at 404-808-5427.