Do you take your child to speech therapy? If so, one of the most helpful things you can do to support their progress is to incorporate speech therapy practice into everyday routines. Whether you’re at home, on the way to school or extra-curricular activities, there are so many opportunities to get an extra dose of practice in.
Small moments of practice over time can really add up, and as you’ll already know from speaking with your treating Speech Pathologist, home practice is encouraged as it’s the only way to see any progress! Keep on reading for some inspiration on how you can incorporate speech therapy practice into everyday routines.
5 Everyday Routines for Incorporating Speech Therapy Practice
#1: Bath time
Bathtime (whether it involves a bath or a shower) is a great daily routine that you can incorporate speech therapy practice into. Depending on your child’s speech therapy goals, you could practice saying certain words that your treating Speech Pathologist has highlighted, or you could practice asking (and having your child answer) questions about their day or toys they’re playing with in the bath.
As you can imagine, bathtime is a great routine for practicing certain words in a natural environment – splash, soak, soap, bubble/s, water, wash. You could even use bathtime games to add an element of play to your speech therapy home practice (and to keep your child interested!).
Another great routine you can incorporate speech therapy practice into is breakfast time. While you’re preparing breakfast, try narrating what you’re doing including the order that you’re completing tasks in (e.g. first I will toast the bread, then I will butter the toast, before I butter the toast, I need to toast the bread, toast the bread before I butter it). Narration is a great strategy for targeting concepts and language stimulation that supports late talkers – we go into more depth in our TalkEase parent education program if you want to know more.
Other ways you can incorporate speech therapy practice into your breakfast routine include encouraging your child to ask for items to be put on their plate, or practicing following instructions (if they’re old enough to help you prepare food!) or practicing sounds between mouthfuls.
Breakfast is a good time because we’re usually least tired, and therforetherefore most alert, during this time. We also don’t have the frustrations of the day piling up and deflating our resilience reserves to try something we find hard.
#3: Driving to or from school / kindy
Finding the time to practice speech therapy targets can be tricky, especially when you find yourself driving from one location or activity to another back-to-back. You may even have other children to keep an eye on, and take to their next extra-curricular activity as well! Family life is busy! With this in mind, it can be helpful to squeeze a bit of speech therapy practice in when you’re driving from one place to the next. If there are siblings in the car with your child who goes to speech therapy, get them involved! Have everyone practicing the speech therapy targets – make it a group game. This will not only make the time fly by, but you’ll also sneak in that all-important speech therapy home practice without having to find extra time in the day.
#4: Toilet training
Is your little one being toilet trained at the moment? It might sound a bit odd to start with but practicing speech therapy targets while sitting on the potty is actually a pretty common strategy amongst parents in our speech pathology clinics! Having a laminated list of the speech sounds your child is working on can be incredibly helpful at times like these. You could use this list to play ‘I Spy’ while looking around the bathroom, or if you’re working on language stimulation and expanding your little one’s vocabulary, you could try labelling body parts (e.g. ‘this is your hand, this is your arm, what is this?’). You can also read language rich books that give lots of stimulation for different vocabulary and sentence structures which is great when working on expressive and receptive language skills and fluency.
Finally, one of our favourite ‘everyday routines’ for incorporating speech therapy home practice is bedtime. As your little one winds down for sleep, you might choose to read a language rich picture book and practice speech therapy targets along the way. Or you might run through your list of words to get one last dose of practice in for the day.
We hope you’re feeling inspired and ready to start incorporating speech therapy practice into your everyday routines. If you need more personalised support, check in with your treating Speech Pathologist next time you’re in the clinic to organise a home program or homework plan to support your child in reaching their speech therapy goals.
For more information on how you can support your child as they learn to talk (particularly if they’re finding it a little tricky!) take a look at our parent education group therapy program, TalkEase.