School’s out for the summer, and for many children who get their speech therapy through their school, summertime can mean a break in their regular speech therapy schedule. Even for children in private speech therapy in Manhattan Beach or Redondo Beach, their speech therapy sessions in the summer can be more irregular, due to travel or other summer activities.
During this time off, you may see a loss of momentum when it comes to your child’s progress, but this doesn’t have to be the case. There are many things you can do as a parent to make sure your child continues to progress toward their speech and language goals.
Unstructured Play is Great for Development
The school months are filled with lots of structured activities—in speech therapy, in the classroom, and in any after-school activities in which your child may be involved. Summer is a good time to give your child the opportunity to engage in unstructured play—that is, play that is undirected by you or anyone else. Give your child some simple materials or craft supplies and see what they come up with. Take them to a safe area where they can just explore until their heart’s content. Invite a friend or two over to play so they can practice communicating and socializing with peers in a casual environment.
Whatever activity your child is engaged in, make sure you are working alongside them to improve their communication in a way that keeps things fun and lighthearted. Ask questions, introduce new words related to what he or she is doing, and encourage critical thinking as they work through situations.
Summer Activities that Can Enhance Speech and Language Development
Summer activities present great opportunities for teaching and practicing vocabulary in new environments. Taking your child to the beach, the pool, on a hike, or on a trip will allow you to introduce new words and concepts, and also will give your child many chances to ask and answer questions, practice following directions, engage in critical thinking, and socialize.
Just like in unstructured play, keep the communication practice fun during your family’s summer activities. Make it a natural addition to what you’re doing, rather than turning a fun activity into a “lesson.”
As a parent, you are your child’s number one teacher! Your child’s speech therapist can give him or her the tools needed to develop their speech and language skills, but you teach your child how to engage with the world. Look for opportunities every day to teach and practice communication skills, but don’t forget to have fun!
If you’d like to supplement you summer activities with some private speech therapy, contact Lil’ Chit-Chat. Our speech therapists come to your Manhattan Beach or Redondo Beach home and involve family members in your child’s speech therapy sessions. You can also contact us with any initial questions you may have or to schedule an evaluation of your child. We hope to hear from you soon!