Well, I just typed this entire blog and erased it somehow.  Oh the joys of technology.  Let's try this again...

What is your child doing when he is watcing you cook?  Zoning out?  Nope.  Your child is learning.  He's watching you and understanding what the things in his environment do and how they work.  For instance, he is seeing that the roundish silver thing with a stick goes on the big box attached to the wall with circles on top (aka a pot and stove).  Now, the child will understand how things work and things belong.  However, this does not give him the language to explain his world.  This is where you come in.

For pre-talkers, kids with early language, and kids with hearing loss (who are learning to listen and talk): You must narrate your life.  You need to tell your child everything that your using and doing.  I want you to narrate your life to point that you feel silly (it will happen) and you annoy yourself (this will also happen).  However, it's what is best for your child.  Don't stop with the names of objects.  You can explain materials things are made of, size, color, shape, function of items, where they belong, if it is edible or not, number of objects being used, weight, what something eats, the sound it makes, etc.  This will help you child begin to understand: sequencing of events, describing objects, naming items, conversation, etc.  The possibilities and benefits are endless!

Will this happen overnight?  Nope.  It is a hard habit to create.  If you begin one day and forget an hour later, that's ok.  Just start talking/narrating again when you remember!  Have your spouse remind you and you remind your spouse.  Now, let me give you some examples so you really get what I'm describing:
  • Johnny, I'm going to pour the orange juice from the gallon jug into this glass.  Mmmmm... this is tasty.  I like to drink orange juice.  Do you like my glass?  It is clear and tall.
  • Let's put the water on.  Do you hear it?  It makes a loud noise when it hits the bathtub.  What do we do in the bathtub?  We wash ourselves so we are clean.  We use a washcloth and soap when we wash ourselves.  What are we going to wash?  Let's wash your face first.  Now, let's wash your hands.  Do you see the bubbles on your hand?  They will disappear when we rinse your hand with water!  It's magic!
Now you try it at home.  Use your imagination and talk whenever you're doing ANYTHING!

I'm still on the "on a dime" kick.  I can't tell you how much I love to save money.

My husband always gets nervous when I tell him that I'm going to go to garage sales looking for speech therapy materials because his response is always, "but anything can be for speech therapy."  The problem is not the money I spend since I usually only spend maximum $10-20 (and get some AWESOME stuff).  However, the biggest problem is that my speech therapy closet is overflowing.  However, we never have to buy our son toys - we just raid the speech therapy closet.

The way to get your kids to talk is to get at their level.  Use what your child enjoys in order to get him interested.  The toys don't have to be new.  I have bought many toys used from garage sales that have worked wonders.  Some of my favorites have been: blocks, bag of cars/motorcycles/planes, Old McDonald game (great for kids who are learning to listen), Animal Train, rattles, matching game, Jenga (great for older kids), etc.  
Well, I took a vacation from blogging while I was on vacation - again.  So sorry about that.  However, I'm back!

I want to write about a few things that can be done "on a dime."  When you see "on a dime" as part of the title, you will know that it is something that can be done on a budget (I know, the b-word is a terrible thing, but definitely necessary in our house).

Let's talk about field trips.  Field trips aren't just for school teachers.  They don't necessarily need to require a permission slip.  What I mean is TAKE YOUR KIDS ON FIELD TRIPS!?!  Have you ever thought of that?  I know that the zoo, aquarium, petting zoo, gardens, museums, etc get expensive.  However, you don't have to limit yourself to those locations.  You could pick one day a week to be "field trip day" (possibly field trip friday??) and pick places that your children have never/seldom been to or happen to love.  Be creative.  Here are a few ideas to start off: fire station(call ahead), police station (call ahead), farmer's market, park, river/lake/ocean, nature hike, fish market, or even as simple as... the grocery store (I can hear the groans through the computer).  Here's the key - you want to hype it up and get the kids excited about what they could see or learn.  Younger kids could talk about what they think they might see, older kids could draw a picture or write a story.  While you are on your field trip, make it fun. You could create a "scavenger hunt" board (see activity on website), let them try to find at least one thing for each color of the rainbow, or play "i spy".  The ideas could be endless.  Once at home; have your child cut out pictures from magazines of what he/she saw, draw a picture, write a story, or tell you and you write it down.  You could create an entire folder of their field trips and they will have a fantastic "show and tell" piece for when they start school again.  Not to mention, they may be occupied for a little while and you can sit down for a minute or two. :o)

Now, if your child is in the "pre-talker" category, then these small experiences are a great way to talk about everything you see and give your child more vocabulary.  Just because your child isn't talking, doesn't mean he's not listening and learning!

If your child is working on articulation goals, you can always have him/her search for their speech sound (see activity sheet) and write down what they find.  This will give your child more practice mastering that sound!