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Parents can increase their child’s language skills at home

Some families may not be ready to go back to pre-pandemic levels and are worried about their child’s language skills. These creative ideas will help you create a language-rich home and prevent it from happening.

During the height of the pandemic, my most frequent question during speech therapy was “If we’re not going anywhere, how can I continue to help our child with their language skills home?”

Even though the pandemic fog has lifted, parents are still concerned about this issue. Many parents are not ready to go back to playgroups and classes. It’s okay! It’s easy to increase your child’s ability to communicate with the world while still staying at home. Limit technology, model language, and have fun! Play-based interactions are the best way to teach children. Many language opportunities can be created using items already in your house.

These are some tips and tricks that parents can use to improve their child’s ability to communicate in English.

Model for Them

Parents should verbally model everything, is my number one tip. Talking to your toddler about their actions can help them understand the world around them. Use short, direct phrases they can understand such as “go car”, “blue car”, “car up” and “go car”. Although sometimes not grammatically complete, simple and concise phrases will help your child to understand the basics of language.

Once the child is able to communicate their wants and needs clearly, the finer aspects of language can be taught later. Do not use the phrase “Say [plugin any word here]”, but instead model the word or phrase that you would like them to create. It’s okay if your child doesn’t imitate you immediately; they are learning from all the rich language that you provide.

Put Technology Away

Studies show that toddlers who spend more than two hours a day looking at screens may have a negative effect on their cognition, which can lead to delays in language acquisition. Technology could be a influential tool in education. However, it should be used in moderation. You should set aside some time every day for technology. However, you should also encourage your child to play with tangible toys and other objects throughout the day. Be present with your child while they use technology. Interact with them, ask questions and continue to teach language.

Make Not Everything Accessible

Parents often tell me that their child is the one who makes their needs and wants known. You will have limited communication opportunities with your child if you make everything available to them throughout the day.

These are intentional interactions that can be facilitated by placing your child’s favorite toys on a shelf or giving them a cup of water without juice. Verbally show your child what you are pointing at if they are still in the pointing phase.

Incorporate Kids in Daily Routines

Children love being involved in “grown up” activities. To improve language skills, it is a great idea to have your child help with chores around the home like washing dishes or cooking. You can give your child simple instructions, such as “flour in” and “give me a sock.” Throughout these activities, continue to label your child’s actions with words like “you are mixing” or “we are folding.”

Give them Open-Ended Toys

A different question which I frequently get asked that “What toys are appropriate for my child?” and always my answer is open-ended toys. Toys that are open-ended can be used in many different ways, across all ages. You can use blocks to make a castle or tower, or to drive around the floor in a car. While open-ended toys encourage creativity and foster pretend play, close-ended toys like bubbles and puzzles only serve one purpose.

Get Creative

These tips and tricks are easy to use, but parents sometimes struggle to decide what activities they should do at home. You don’t have to buy expensive toys – some of the most effective language interactions can be achieved by using items that are already in your home.

Sensory Bins

Sensory bins are small containers that hold objects of different textures, shapes, sizes and can be mixed together to encourage engagement. These essentials are not only great for speech and language skills but also stimulate other areas of the brain such as emotional regulation and fine motor skills.

These can be filled by you and your child with many different items such as water beads, Easter grass and water beads. The fillers can be adjusted according to age (you should avoid choking hazards items for children younger than 5 years old) and the child’s abilities.

Arts & crafts

It is great to encourage speech and language skills with simple arts and crafts, especially when it comes around holidays. This helps you to follow instructions, talk about each step and request. Pinterest is a wonderful resource for inspiring arts and crafts ideas.


It’s a great way to teach your child how to follow directions, ask for help, and label verbs. You can have your child cook their own lunch or make playdough for them to use later. Or you can make a sweet treat for them to enjoy after dinner. If your child is picky, cooking with them is a great activity. Participating in meal preparation can result in better eating at the dinner table.

Turn-taking games

Board games, as well as other turn-taking games (like catching the ball), are great for teaching patience and asking. You can simplify a basic board game, such as Pop the Pig, to suit your child’s requirements. Turn-taking games are a great way to teach social language skills. Children need to ask for their turn, wait their turn and follow the rules to play.

Tub time

Another great routine that can be viewed as a chore is one that can be transformed into a chance to learn a lot of languages. Tub time can be enhanced by bringing toys in, making bubbles, singing along to familiar songs and painting the tub.

The Bottom Line

Even if your child isn’t ready to go back to pre-pandemic levels, you can still give enough stimulation right at home. It’s up to you to be creative!

A speech therapist should be chosen for your child by an experienced speech pathologist such as Speech Therapy Karachi. They are able to provide play-based therapy, as well as augmentative or alternative communication, and work with children with speech sounds disorders.

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