I explained maybe a month ago over on my instagram stories about how Olivia has attended four speech and language classes via her nursery. It was not related to her speech or indeed her language but due to the fact she just doesn’t pay enough attention to what you are saying to her in order to get the right response. Her little mouth moves a mile a minute but she isn’t always answering your question and rather just talking about what she wants to talk about.

I got several messages out of interest asking what sort of home activities we did to help this and this has got me thinking that maybe I could share some of these ideas out incase anyone had seen the stories, was interested in what happens but possibly afraid to ask. Well fear no more…

Attention and Listening Skills

  • Play a game of musical status – This encourages your child to listen for instruction.
  • Tell silly stories – retell some familiar stories or nursery rhymes but insert a deliberate mistake e.g Humpty Dumpty sat on a gate. Ask your child to say stop each time they hear a mistake, repeat the mistake back to you and then ask them to correct the statement.
  • Copy Cat – Gather together a selection of instruments or if you have a xylophone play a tune saying the word first, next, last e.g first I shake the shaker, next I hit the woodblock and last I tap the tambourine.  Get your child to then copy the tune back to you then change the sequence. Let your child then develop the sequence and you copy them.
  • Retelling Stories – Ask your child to help you with basic tasks around the home e.g making toast. First you put the bread in the toaster, next you butter the toast and last you eat the toast. Then ask them what the stages are in doing a task at home.

Language Activities

  • Using teddies/dolls from around the house play together with your child to”wash” or “brush” the teddys body parts. Talk to your child about what you are doing so that the correct use of language is used e.g “I am brushing teddys leg”. Encourage your child to listen carefully by using their name and when they are looking at you give them an instruction using three key words e.g “wash dolls hands”. To extend this activity encourage your child to say what they are doing and then let your child give you an instruction to follow prompting them to think about the language used.
  • Look at books together and ask your child to describe what the characters in the book are doing e.g The boy is running. Also read a few sentences and then ask your child a question about what you have just read e.g the blue ball bounced across the green grass – ask what colour the ball was to see if they have been paying attention.

Even though Olivia attended the classes just before and after christmas she still enjoys playing these games especially the one where you get the nursery rhyme or story wrong and you have to say stop. We continually play this especially in the mornings as it helps speed up getting dressed and eating breakfast thankfully! Her nursery school teacher has noticed a big change from attending the classes even with there only being a few as she pays attention better and doesn’t seem to go off on a tangent when asked a question or specific information is required.  Her speech has also slowed down so we can understand more of what she is saying, with such a vast vocabulary at such a young age we were struggling at times to pick up what she was saying as she was speaking so quickly.

Hopefully this has been of help and or interest to some of you. Please let me know if you want any more information on speech and language ideas as I am happy to share the love 🙂

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