One of the trickiest parts of a child learning to use a new speech sound is getting them to practise it! We often see little ones who are using their new sound clearly and accurately in our weekly sessions, but who refuse to practise any further when they go home.
This often means that while they are able to make their new sound, they are unlikely to begin generalising it into their everyday speech and across multiple environments. It is also likely that their overall progress will be slower than those children who participate in daily practice sessions at home, as short, frequent bursts of practice often lead to the best results.
So, how can we make daily practice sessions something that our children enjoy and want to complete?
MAKE IT FUN! Reading or repeating words, phrases or sentence from a list every day can become boring very quickly, so we need to think of ways to have our children say these same words/phrases/sentences in a way that doesn’t feel like a chore.
Practising during turn-taking games is one of the easiest ways to do this, and you can use any game that you already have at home! When it’s ‘practice time’ ask your child to pick a game they would like to play and let them know that this will be the time that you will be listening out for their perfect sounds. Before each player takes a turn in the game have them say a word/phrase/sentence (whatever level is specified by your Speech Pathologist) containing their target sound. The other players listen, provide specific feedback, and then continue on with the game.
Practising in this way means that your child can complete a high number of practice repetitions while engaged in an activity they enjoy. Having all players say the target word/phrase/sentence means that the child also doesn’t feel like they are being tested (and they seem to love telling you when you have not produced the target sound accurately). When the game is over, congratulate your child on how many times they said their target sound accurately and continue on with the rest of your day.
If you have games at home that you’re not sure how to use during practice I encourage you to ask your Speech Pathologist – chances are we have used them before and we can help you figure it out!