Easy Ways to Increase Language Input During Daily activities
by Pauline Munoz, CCC-SLP
KP Central Speech and Language Pathologist

The amount of language children are exposed to from birth to three years of age significantly affects their learning and language abilities. Most parents understand the importance of talking to their children. However, it is easy to get caught up in routine activities and forget to place an emphasis on language and communication.

The more you speak with your child at home and the more opportunities you provide to practice skills they are targeting in therapy, the quicker you will begin to notice progress. Therapists understand that parents might not have an additional thirty minutes available daily to target speech and language goals, but it’s much easier to practice language tasks during activities you do on a daily basis regularly.

Below are easy ways you can increase language input for your children during daily activities that you are likely already doing.

Mealtime

  • Provide options to your child to encourage them to make a request – “Would you like water or milk?”
  • Give your child at least 5-10 seconds to respond to your questions
  • Practice expanding your child’s utterances by adding 1-2 words to their utterances – “You said milk. Can you say more milk or milk please?”
  • If your child struggles to talk, try using gestures and pointing to encourage communication
  • Try to avoid asking yes/no questions and instead ask questions that require more specific answers
  • Practice labeling food items and objects in the kitchen
  • Discuss similarities and differences between food and items
  • Talk about what you or your child are doing – “You’re eating an orange. I’m peeling the potatoes”
  • Talk about food textures and consistencies
  • Try using simple, but grammatical phrases and questions – “Do you want more? The apple is red”

Bathtime

  • Make bath time fun by using a variety of objects from around the house such as strainers, measuring cups, and toys
  • Ask your child to point to body parts, label body parts and their functions as you name them
  • Ask questions with options – “What should we scrub first, your arm or foot?”
  • Talk to your child about the steps in your bath time routine – “First we wash our hair, and then we play with the cups.”
  • Discuss what you or your child is doing – “I’m pouring the water on your head. You splashed the water.”

Bedtime/Reading

  • Having a simple, consistent routine helps children know what to expect and reduce anxiety
  • Try to incorporate reading during your bedtime routine
  • Let your child choose a book to read
  • If your child frequently chooses the same book, focus on different aspects of the story or pictures each time you read the story
  • Point to words as your read them to increase print awareness
  • Think about different Wh- questions (What, where, when, why) you can ask about the pictures in the books
  • Ask questions about topics related to the book
  • “That girl feels sad, what makes you sad? The boy is eating fruit, what’s your favorite fruit?”
  • Talk about the steps in your bedtime routine
  • Sing nursery songs to encourage use of gestures and imitation of words