The holidays are right around the corner which means extra time with family, friends, and opportunities for language development. Here is what you can be doing to help aid your child’s language development while also having fun during the holiday season:
Describing: This is a great time to discuss different items using our senses. You can discuss textures, shapes, smells, tastes, sizes, and other features. You can talk about categories too – foods, toys, vehicles, decorations etc.
Articulation: Pick holiday themed activities that have your child’s target sounds. For example, if your child is working on their /r/ sound, pick a book that has high frequency /r/ sounds such as “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”
Vocabulary: During the holidays, children are exposed to new words. Explain new words to them such as ornaments, pine, dreidel, chimney etc. Provide your child with labeled items and settings where they might discover these items. Encourage them to create stories or sentences that involve selected vocabulary.
Following directions: You can target this through gift wrapping, following recipes, or decorating. If the task is more complex, try breaking down steps into smaller tasks. You can also use visuals for what steps need to happen next. Discuss the sequencing to add vocabulary such as “first,” “next,” and “last.” Have your child recall all the steps they have completed for the activity to help with recall and sequencing.
Perspective Taking: Have your child help you with thinking about homemade or store-bought gift ideas for family and friends. Encourage them to think about other’s preferences and feelings associated with giving.
Problem Solving: Your child may encounter some social scenarios during the holidays that they have not been exposed to before. For example, they might be presented with a new food or a gift they do not enjoy. Encourage them to think of appropriate responses to these social scenarios before the holiday.
Turn Taking: During the holidays is a great time for your child to work on patience and turn taking. This can be targeted through game play, book reading, and while opening gifts. You can foreshadow with your child about whose turn it is, as well as when their turn will be. You can phrase it with first, then language. For example, if your child is waiting to open a present you can tell them that first it is grandma’s turn, then it will be their turn.
These are just a few items you can target over the holiday season. Encourage your child to participate in learning activities during this period and have fun together.