While we may not be able to socialize in person, you can continue to help your children develop social language skills at home. Here are some easy ways to get started!
- FaceTime or other video conferencing calls: Schedule calls with family members and friends! Encourage your child to ask questions to find out information from the other person. Be sure to think of the 5 W’s (who, what, where, when and why)
- Who went to the grocery store?
- What did you eat for breakfast?
- Where is your dog?
- When are you going to eat?
- Why are you in the kitchen?).
You can also work on feelings and emotions by pointing out nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions, body movements/orientation, etc. Make sure your child uses appropriate greetings to say hello and goodbye as well. Good eye contact is important too!
2.Virtual playdates: I know this seems a bit crazy, but it works! Before the playdate starts, try to find toys that both children have. For example, blocks, Legos or dolls. Even though they can’t physically build or play together, there are tons of opportunities to connect and work together. Perhaps one child builds an airport while the other makes an airplane. They can work together to figure out when the airplane can take off and land. If the children are using dolls, they can pretend to feed each other’s baby or one child can sing while the other child puts the baby to bed. Make sure your children have enough room to play and the streaming device is far enough that the other child can see what’s happening. You may have to make some adjustments so stay close by. Also, keep in mind that this will get easier and become more natural with more opportunities!
3.Read: You can use books to work on emotions and feelings as well as problem solving. Ask questions before reading, such as, “How do you think this person feels?” or make comments, such as, “Hmm, he looks angry, I wonder why.” Encourage your child to talk about facial expressions. For example, “How did you know the boy is feeling sad?” Depending on your child’s age, you can have him/her write a sequel for various books. Remember, the 5 basic story elements include characters, the setting, the plot, the conflict (problem) and the resolution (solution). Writing books is a great way to work on vocabulary, sequencing and pronouns too! If your child likes drawing, you can have him/her draw pictures and work on story retell.