Michael and his son, Andreas came for their second speech session.
He looked frustrated…
“Keri, Andreas doesn’t want to practice his speech with me. I’ve tried all of his favorite toys and games. This is driving me crazy!”
I hear this often from the parents whom I work with. And I have a secret that has worked for hundreds of kids.
“Does Andreas love ice cream and cookies?” I asked.
“Yes, they’re both his favorite treats.”
I took out some toy foods to make a pretend ice cream cookie.
“Michael, I’ll use a treat that Andreas will love to show you my Ice Cream Layered Fun Technique.”…
Even Andreas joined us at the table to lean in and watch.
Here is how I use layered fun to boost Andreas’ practice motivation…
“This bottom cookie is a Positive Start. Lets get Andreas excited using a FUN warm-up activity – for 30 to 60 seconds.”
I put on some music that Andreas loved to listen to for 1 minute. Michael and I laughed as Andreas started to bob to the music.
“Next comes the Ice Cream Filling…Ice cream is the Best and the Most Important part of an ice cream cookie.”
Ice cream is the WORK part of speech practice. Andreas has to practice for 10-15 minutes – it’s like he’s making ice-cream.
“You can give Andreas a quick break after every 5 minutes of speech practice. By adding in quick breaks, you and Andreas can build up to practicing for 15 minutes at a time.”
“We want to End With another Positive for Andreas, which will be this yummy top cookie.”
Andreas, just like ALL kids will be more motivated to practice when he earns his choice of preferred activity or reward after speech practice.”
“Andreas shouted out that his preference was to play outside in his backyard right after speech practice.”
Michael was glowing with joy.
“Keri, I never thought to use Andreas’ love of music as a warm-up before we practice. He loves running and playing outdoors – he’d work hard to earn more time to run and play.
Everything is more fun when we have something to look forward to – and even for little kids it feels great that they have earned something.
Here’s your take-away… Add “layered fun” that begins with a fun warm-up activity, followed by speech-language practice with quick breaks, and topped up by your child earning a choice of preferred activity or reward.