Boost Communication Skills: 10 Minute Bedtime Routines
If you’re a parent, you’re busy. Between the homework, extracurricular activities, and squeezing in time for friends, it can seem challenging to find time to work on those speech and communication skills. To make the most of your time in your busy schedule, try some of these 10 minute bedtime routines and activities that build those skills and help you connect with your child for a few minutes before bedtime.
Build Speech and Communication Skills at Bedtime
Let the pictures do the talking – Reading to your child is extremely important, but build those important story-telling skills by choosing a well-illustrated book and telling the story just by the pictures. Encourage your child to take turns with you focusing on the pictures and describing what might be happening.
Sing a story – Music has been shown to have amazing effects on speech and communication. Try signing your child a bedtime story, and help them sing along! This list of classic favorites can jump-start your list of stories to sing – such as On Top of Spaghetti, The Ants Go Marching, Five in the Bed, and so many more.
Adventures of the stuffed animal – Build a story with your child about the adventures his favorite stuffed animal had during the day while your child was busy at school. You can take turns imagining what the stuffed creature did, ate, or saw – not only a great tool for the imagination, but for building vocabulary about time (first, next, and then, etc.) that are important for preschool communication skills.
Let the stars glow – Affix glow in the dark stars to the ceiling in your child’s room for practice with the /s/ sound. Each night work with your child to come up with silly “S” names for each star – Super Star, Sizzling Star, etc. – and work your way around the ceiling. Another option is to build a constellation out of the stars and use it as a story-starter with your child at night to help build sequencing communication skills as she tells a story about the constellation.
The breakfast book – Read “If You Give A Moose a Muffin” to reinforce those /m/ sounds with your child and then bake a batch of muffins (they don’t have to be from scratch) with your child to have for breakfast the next morning. Carrying over this bedtime activity to the next day reiterates the lesson – and if you have time you can read the book again in the morning as your child eats the breakfast he helped to make.
Paper dolls with a purpose – Print and cut out a basic set of paper dolls like any of these and use them to model vocabulary or speech and communication skills that are the targets for your child. For example, you might say, “My doll is wearing a purple hat. What is your doll wearing?” This type of activity can build skills of identifying and using adjectives, as well as practicing the use of verbs. You can adapt it for various speech targets.
Bedtime routines help your child calm and quiet at the end of the day, and they can also be the perfect opportunities to build speech and communication skills. If you have any special tips or techniques you love to use to reinforce speech and communication skills with your child, we’d love to hear from you!