Speech and language intervention doesn’t only have to occur in the therapy room, or even at home or school. Your local supermarket can be a great place to help your child’s language development along. Here are a few quick ideas for stimulating speech and language skills in your toddler.
- You can help build your child’s vocabulary by:
- naming items as you walk by them.
- allowing your child to touch the items in your cart and talking about how they feel (cold, hard, soft, bumpy, smooth).
- describing food in the store (color, size, shape).
- asking your child to point out things that are a particular color.
- You can help your child learn to participate in conversations by:
- pausing often when you are naming the items in the store to give your child a chance to respond. This is the basis for taking turns in conversation.
- encouraging your child to say please and thank you when you get a cookie from the bakery.
- starting a conversation about products you find that go together (bread/butter, waffles/syrup).
- You can help your child with pre-literacy skills (getting ready for reading and writing) by:
- reading your shopping list and showing your child each word as you cross it out.
- giving your child sturdy books to look at while sitting in the shopping cart.
- talking about what you did first, next, and last when you were at the store.
Try a few of these ideas out the next time you and your toddler are at the grocery store. It can turn an everyday routine into a great learning experience.
Adapted from Dorothy P. Dougherty and Diane R. Paul’s 2007 book Talking on the Go: Everyday Activities to Enhance Speech and Language Development. Available from www.asha.org.