Bringing Speech and Language Practice Into the Everyday – Shopping
For the overwhelming majority of children, professional speech therapy will not be necessary. For most kids, speech and language development is something of a slow, steady and at times challenging process for both themselves and their parents alike. Parents only want what’s best for their kids, but at the same time may have little to no idea where to start when it comes to nurturing strong speech and language skills. And given the fact that there is so much conflicting information available online these days, the whole situation is compounded further.
Nevertheless, there is so much every parent can do to help steer and guide their children in the right direction, when it comes to the development of strong speech and language skills. It’s often simply a case of considering the kinds of everyday activities you and your children get into, in order to work out how each of them could potentially be transformed into a highly valuable learning experience. They may be everyday activities to you, but from a child’s perspective are nothing less than the richest of all learning resources.
Take for example shopping – it’s something you do without even thinking about it and probably take your kids along for the ride more often than not. Nevertheless, each and every shopping trip you take (even if it’s something you dread) has the potential to be a beneficial learning experience for your children.
So if you’d like to ensure your kids get the very most out of your shopping trips, here’s a quick rundown of a few considerations with regard to speech and language development:
Before You Set Off
First of all, before you even set off on your shopping trip you can begin the process by speaking to your children about what you intend to buy and where from. There are so many opportunities for learning and development – you could go through your shopping list with them, you could speak to them about their favourite foods and drinks, you could talk about which shops you intend to go to, how you intend to get there and so on. You can even take your child on a tour of the kitchen and have them assist you in determining exactly what you do and do not need, while at the same time helping build their vocabulary and improve their communication skills.
On the Journey
Of course the benefits of assisting your child with their speech and language development on journeys is in no way restricted only to shopping trips. The fact that you will be passing by literally thousands of different things on your way from A to B makes every journey the ideal opportunity to get your children talking. And there are also countless games you could play along the way – ‘I spy with my little eye’ perhaps being the most obvious of all. Ask them to tell you what they see as you drive along and continue to talk about the shopping you are about to do.
At the Supermarket
The supermarket itself is nothing less than a treasure chest when it comes to opportunities for improving your child’s vocabulary. Kids (particularly of a young age) have a tendency to find supermarkets as exciting and sensory-stimulating as a theme park, with an endless variety of sights, sounds, smells and objects around them at all times. The opportunities for assisting with their speech and language development are endless, examples including:
- Keep them busy, make your trip more efficient and help with their language development at the same time by asking them to wander off and find you certain items of food. Or if they are too young to wander off, ask them to point out the items of food you request as you walk by them.
- Quite literally every item of food in a supermarket represents an additional word to compliment your child’s vocabulary. But this is not only limited to the actual items themselves, as you can encourage your child to discuss where each item of food comes from. For example, milk and dairy products usually come from cows, but can also come from sheep and goats. Apples grow on trees, but carrots grow under the ground. You are surrounded by thousands of conversation starters, so feel free to use them!
- Last but not least, there’s also endless scope when it comes to practicing and introducing adjectives in the supermarket. Along with describing the shape, size, appearance and texture of any number of items around you or in your basket, you will inherently travel through areas that are cold, sections with delicious aroma, noisy areas, busy areas and so on. If it can be described using simple adjectives, it represents a brilliant learning exercise for your child.