Help! What Motivates My Child To Practice Speech?

mom and daughter with a large bookIt had been a tough week for one of my favorite parents, Michelle & I. It began with that dreaded motor speech goal during our meeting….

”Motor speech – what???”

Michelle’s confusion & frustration grew during our meeting. There were foreign terms & expressions spewing from my mouth, like “coarticulation, movement gestures and complex syllables structures.”

I realized…

“ Oh No! I’ve turned into a Speech Therapist Geek. Am I still speaking English?”

I could sense Michelle’s panic as she voiced her questions:

“What words do I practice at home?”
“What do I do when Sam has difficulty pronouncing words throughout the day?

And then we had a break through – more on that in a minute.

The world of speech therapy can be frustrating and complex for everyone – kids, parents, teachers and even therapists.

How can we make practice more fun and a positive experience for everyone so kids progress faster with their speech therapy skills?

Your Child’s Motivation Goes Up When They…

  • Know they are successful
  • Understand the power of language, i.e. to say a message or ask for what they want
  • Understand how speech skills will impact how people will understand them
  • Receive lots of helpful feedback and praise
  • Are having fun

I gave Michelle a long list of activities that she & Sam could do together while Sam practiced his new speech skills everyday.

These Got Sam Moving:

  • Bowling or Ball Toss Roll a ball or toss a beanbag after a speech turn.
  • Mailman After naming each picture, Sam places the picture in an envelope to be delivered to someone else or to a toy using a truck as the delivery vehicle. Name each picture again once it is delivered.

Sam Had To Get Creative On These:

  • Block Designs After saying a sound several times, Sam earns a block to design a building.
  • Earn it Now-Make it Later Sam earns items for an art project each time he takes his speech turn. His speech target is produced several times. He gets to complete the project later.

These Were Sam’s Favorites:

  • Go Fish Sam asks questions to practice his speech, i.e. “Who has a …?” and to find matching picture cards.
  • Feely Box Place sound objects in a box or bag for Sam to feel and guess the identity.

It was wonderful to see Michelle’s vibrant smile return!

At the beginning of our next session, Michelle announced what type of activity had motivated Sam the most to practice his speech. The best news came a month later.

Sam even told me himself that he was talking more at school. (I love it when kids tell me this!)

Here’s you speech take away… Try 3 of these fun activities to motivate your child for repetitive speech-language practice.

To your Success with Creating Speech-Language Fun for Kids,
“Speech” Keri