After months with little or no contact with peers and mentors such as teachers, not to mention lack of exposure to sports and leisure activities, some children’s speech and language skills may be a little rusty. Even if they’ve maintained their skills, further development may have stalled or slowed during this time. So how can parents and carers help to get their kids’ communication on track after lockdown, to both support healthy social interaction and learning and set them up for optimal development as life returns to normal? Try these tips from SH speech pathologist Shauna.
- Schedule play dates. Set aside 5 minutes of ‘special time’ each day for you and your child to focus on activities that support speech, language and expression. Make sure you get rid of distractions such as electronic devices.
- Encourage exploration. Depending on your child’s stage of development, get them to choose a toy, activity or book for each session. For younger children, you may choose to listen to a nursery rhyme. Whatever the activity, let your child take the lead. Make a point of commenting on what they’re doing or looking at so they can learn related words and ideas.
- Practise skills. If your child is under the care of a speech therapist or a specialist learning professional, incorporate their ‘homework’ tips and exercises into these 5-minute sessions.
If you have a question or concern about a child’s communication, speech and language or interpersonal skills and development, our child and adolescent speech pathologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and psychologists would love to answer. Ask us in comments!