No one is busier than a parent with little ones. Between the laundry, cooking, cleaning, diaper changes, feeding, grocery shopping, potty training, trips to the park, and sleep training, you’ve got your hands full. If you’re also worrying that they’re not talking yet and wishing there was more you could do to help, you might feel overwhelmed at the thought of trying to squeeze in one more thing. What if I told you that there are speech therapy strategies that are easy to incorporate into what you’re already doing at home? I want you to feel confident teaching your toddler to talk during your everyday interactions at home. Using three familiar household items - a blanket, a door, and laundry - you can start building your toddler's language skills TODAY!
Grow your child’s language skills with a blanket! This is not just for babies—toddlers LOVE being under blankets too!!
Why I love playing under a blanket:
- A blanket playfully blocks out other distractions
- It helps your child attend to your face (which is important for learning to talk!)
- Doing something unexpected (like going under a blanket) can capture your child’s attention quickly
Ideas for what to do under the blanket with your child:
- imitate your baby or toddler’s sounds
- get silly :)
- turn babbles into words b-b-b-blanket
- sing songs with hand movements
- play peekaboo
- add a flashlight and a book for even more fun!
Bonus idea: Grab another adult and make a swing out of the blanket! Either swing or lift your little one up and down in the blanket. Pause after swinging a couple times. See how your child communicates to do more of this game- do they clap? Say “more”? Look expectantly at you? Model the language they need: “more!” “up” “go”
A young child’s love is an open door and closing the door, and opening the door over and OVER again. Does your baby or toddler love doing this? Let’s turn it into a language-boosting opportunity!
- Step 1: Get down to your child’s level. We want your child to be close to your face!
- Step 2: Either get on the other side of the door as your child or have another adult on the other side of the door.
- Step 3: Model knocking on the door while saying “knock knock”. If there is another adult present, they can model opening the door slowly to build anticipation and saying “whooo’s there?” This will help your child be more interested in the game. If you’re alone with your child you can model both parts.
- Step 4: Slowly open the door and model the word of choice excitedly! Examples: “boo!” “Mama!” “it’s Baby!” “hiiii” And repeat!
- Step 5: Model the game a couple times first. Then, pause with the door closed. Has your child figured out the game? Can they initiate it themselves by imitating your action of knocking or opening the door? What do they do or what sound do they make when they see you? Pausing and letting your child do the communicating is so important!
Remember, communication from your child isn’t only about words. It can be in the form of gestures or actions (opening the door, hitting the door, reaching towards you), vocalizations (babbles, screeching, other sounds), signs OR words!
Ahhh… laundry. The WORST home chore in my opinion. Here’s a game to create language opportunities and maybe make you dread it less?... maybe.
* Full disclosure: you may not get any laundry folded…but the giggles are 100% worth it.
Try this fun game while folding laundry to teach:
- body parts
- names of people and objects
- pronouns "my"/"your"
Here’s the game:
- Take a sock and make a hand puppet!!
- “I’m hungry! I’m gonna eat your (insert body part)” and then nibble with a silly “nom nom nom.” The sillier the better :)
- Turn it over to your child: “What should I eat next?” And let THEM point or tell you (pointing is an important gesture and a great way to communicate if they’re still learning how to use words!)
- Kids will think it’s funny to eat your body parts and their body parts, so take advantage of this! Model pronouns for each thing that the sock puppet eats: “MY foot” “YOUR elbow” etc.
- Bonus: the sock puppet chases your child as they help put laundry away!
Ready for more tips?
I hope these strategies make you feel empowered, knowing that you are helping your child learn to communicate. Plus, I hope you and your little one have fun doing it! If you’re looking for even more tips about incorporating language into your daily routines or other strategies you can use to get your child talking more, I would love for you to join me for a FREE workshop - How to Get Your Baby or Toddler Talking More. You can register here to learn my top 3 speech therapy secrets that have already helped thousands of families just like yours. Hope to see you there!