Regression is when someone or something goes back to its original state. In this instance, we are talking about a child’s loss of skills or a dip in progress. As a speech pathologist, I see this quite often. Kids tend to relax over the summer, go on vacation, play lots of video games and overall do less academic work. Parents often ask me, “what can I do to help my child’s language over the summer?” I have listed some of my suggestions below:
- Make sure to visit the library often! Set up a schedule with your child and try to make trips to the library exciting. Many libraries have summer reading programs but if your local library doesn’t, you can easily create a book list or set a goal to read a certain amount of books by the end of the summer. If the goal is reached, a prize or medal can be rewarded to your child to increase confidence and sense of accomplishment. Make sure you ask your child questions about the book to increase literacy skills, sequencing skills and reading comprehension skills.
- Stick to a schedule! Many children are given a lot of freedom during the summer but many kids need structure like the school day! Start each morning by discussing the plans for the day. If there is a lot of free time, make sure that “screen time” (video games, computer games, tv, movies) is kept to a minimum. Some children may also require a visual to help them understand the sequence of events throughout the day. The extra time you put into it as a parent could make a big difference come September!
- Make every outing a good one! Whether you are going to the grocery store or running errands, make sure you keep your kids talking! Ask lots of questions and encourage independence in your child! (ex: Johnny, where are the pears? Or Johnny can you grab the red shampoo? Find the lotion that says Jergens, what letter will that start with?)
- Make sure you ask your child’s teacher what else you can do to support your child during the summer and avoid regression!
(This post originally appeared on Speechbop)
Erica Gosling, MA CCC-SLP is a full time SLP working in both Stamford, CT and New York City. She received her M.A. from New York University. She has worked in a variety of settings including schools, private practices and home based therapy. She has experience with a variety of communication disorders. For more information about Erica and speech therapy, please visit her blog at Speechbop.com.