Time to Talk: Summer Language Stimulation

Midsummer Language Skills

The summer months are racing ahead. Many of our children are going to day camps or traveling with family. I know from my work schedule that families are shifting their plans daily, almost hourly in some cases. Spontaneity can be a double-edged sword for children. Too much can make them off balance but too much structure can stress them out. I see some children in my practice who lose ground with inconsistent speech therapy due to their looser schedules. But I also see others who gain skills over the summer, when the rigidity of schedules is relaxed.

I’m pondering today about this. So much seems to be determined by the personality of our children. For some, a loosening of structure takes away pressure, and they can learn and be creative at their own pace. Others depend on a schedule to be okay. As parents and teachers, we need to honor these learning/living styles in order to help kids be successful and happy. Of course, this applies to the style that works for their adults as well! What’s the style in your family? Does it work for all your children?

Personally, I like to have some scheduled events and also time for spontaneous events every day. I like to feel a sense of accomplishment and also have time to be quiet and experience summer directly (bird sounds, wind, shapes in the clouds, gardening, visiting friends) like when I was a child. This summer, I’m asking my students’ parents to take a few minutes each day for a quick language activity. Talking about a favorite thing that happened that day (something discovered here on Hilltown Families, of course), practicing a speech sound they do in my sessions, learning some new vocabulary, or playing with educational apps; but just for a short time. Then we can all feel like something definite was accomplished today.

Here are some ideas for summer apps. Just ask your kids to tell you about them during their play. My age divisions are flexible.

Young children:

Older children:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Kathy Puckett Kathy is a private practice speech-language pathologist living in Shelburne, MA and the author of our monthly speech and language column, Time to Talk. Living in Western Massachusetts since 1970, she raised two children here and has two grandsons, ages 15 and 8 years old. She has worked as an SLP with people of all ages for the last 14 years. She runs social thinking skill groups and often works with teens. As a professional artist, she has a unique and creative approach to her practice. She loves technology, neurology, gardening, orchids, and photography. She uses an iPad for therapies. She grows 500 orchids and moderates her own forum for orchid growers (Crazy Orchid Lady). Kathy is dedicated to the families of her private practice, and offers practical, creative ideas to parents. She blogs about communication at kathypuckett.com.

[Photo credit: (cc) Paul Stainthorp]

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