The truth is, sometimes life is hard. Often it is busy. And crazy. As caregivers our priority is our children, helping them get the most out of every day. There is so much information out there about the best methods, the newest research, the must-have and must-do activities, it can be overwhelming. I get it. My type-A, perfectionist personality often makes me think if I’m not doing it all then I must be failing. Just as I was having one of these moments, my 4-year-old helped me keep things in check when she took my hand and said “snuggle” and gave me a book. My heart melted, and I realized she needed me, not a big fancy art activity. Oh, these kids teach us so much.
During these times, remember that any little thing you do with your child is a big thing to them. If you find yourself stressed and feeling “less than,” remember that you are all that your child needs. There are amazing and fun therapy activities out there, yes, and they are great! But when you are having “one of those days,” here are some simple, easy things to do with your child that will help build their language skills and build memories with you.
- Look at books. Don’t stress about reading every word. Talk about the pictures. Make silly voices. Have your child tell you the story back. There is no “right way” to read a book. Just have fun with it!
- Color. A simple coloring book and crayons can be a great language activity. Talk about the pictures, what colors you will choose, take turns coloring. Is it a seasonal picture? Talk about what your child loves about the season! Action pictures? What active things do each of you like to do?
- Water play. Fill up the sink, grab some towels and some toys. So many great language opportunities.
- Filling and dumping water fast and slow
- Have toys dive, swim, climb out
- Do things float or sink?
- Is the water warm or cold? Is the sink full or empty?
- Use some mild soap to clean the toys, which are clean which are dirty? How did they get dirty? Make up stories to go with it.
- Tickle game. That’s it. Just tickle and laugh! Are you going to tickle feet? Tummy? Legs? Arms? It’s a great way to work on body parts and joint attention.
- Hide and seek is the perfect opportunity to work on “where” and location vocabulary.
- Sort laundry. Thankfully doing laundry is more fun for kids than it is for us! Use this as an opportunity to sort by colors, sizes, or types of clothes. Great categorization opportunity!
- Feeling tired? Snuggle up together and look out the window. Talk about what you see. Play “I spy”. Make up stories about what the animals are doing outside. Be imaginative!
So today, let’s put away those Pinterest boards, get back to simple things, and enjoy the time with our kids.
Have fun playing,
Nicole Lampi, M.A., CCC-SLP