Happy holiday season! The holidays are an exciting and special time spent with family, friends, and new experiences. For some families, it is also a busy, bustling season that makes finding time for facilitating language, practicing speech-language goals, and making this time of year meaningful challenging for kiddos. Here are some ways you can practice with your child this holiday season!
Go on a scavenger hunt for words with your child’s sound. Label, say what you see, or make silly sentences!
If your child’s target sound is /s/, find “snow,” “sing,” and “sled” and practice saying “We sing on the sled in the snow.”
Create a social story about the holiday using simple sentences, pictures, and in your child’s perspective. For example, “It is the holidays. My family will come over. I will eat a meal and open presents. I can say ‘thank you’ when I get a present.”
Practice present opening at home with old toys. This can be a great opportunity for strengthening turn-taking skills (let someone else open a present first!), perspective taking (don’t tell people what there present will be!), and social fakes (put on a smile, even if it wasn’t the present you were expecting!).
Pick various holiday items in your home or environment and describe them while having your child guess the object. For example: It’s a toy that we keep in the closet, we take turns playing it, it has a spinner with numbers. You can also practice following multi-step directions around the house (e.g., get the plate and put it on the table, find the present and give it to mom)
You can make a story about what is going to happen or what happened over the holidays (e.g., I was home with my family, I ate turkey, I felt happy). For extra arts and crafts, create a sequencing activity about how to complete various tasks (e.g., wrapping a present: first get the present and wrapping paper, then…etc.)
Alternative/Augmentative Communication (AAC)
Find and model holiday-themed vocabulary or “redefine” vocabulary if words are not pre-programmed. Ex: if Santa Clause is not programmed, we can say “Christmas man who has presents.”
The holiday season is a great time to introduce new and exciting language opportunities! Reach out to your clinician if you need more ideas!