After a challenging year of virtual, hybrid, and modified in-person learning, the TLC Speech-Language Pathology Department is offering advice and encouragement to families on low-stress ways they can support their children’s language, literacy, and learning skills at home this summer. This message is a timely one, as May is celebrated nationally as Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM).

RESET THIS SUMMER:

Many parents have been understandably concerned about their child’s academic progress this school year, given all of the changes necessitated by the pandemic. This may be especially so for families whose children receive support services in schools, such as speech and language therapy. These services may have looked a little different this year than they typically do, and they may to some degree next year as well. We want to encourage families to use the summer season as a much-needed reset—and to rest assured that there are many ways you can support your child’s learning at home, without workbooks, learning apps, and other programs and purchases that add to the family’s stress level.

ACTIVITIES CHILDREN NEED MORE OF THIS SUMMER:

Reading. Use this time to nurture the joy of reading. Let kids be in the driver’s seat when it comes to choosing what they read so it doesn’t feel like work. While independent reading is always valuable, children of all ages also benefit from nightly reading together with an adult. Many libraries that were closed due to COVID-19 are reopening or offering curbside book pickups and returns.

Outdoor Play. Hands-on activities, no matter a child’s age, are the best way to learn new skills, build vocabularies, and boost learning through the senses. Try taking a nature walk and discussing the sights, smells, and sounds. Plant a garden—outside or in containers. Start by researching your options, and then shop for materials, do your planting, and care for your garden daily. Plan a picnic—discuss your menu, where you’ll go, and what you hope to see.

Quality time. Many families have spent more time together than ever this year, but the quantity of this time has not always translated to quality. Focus on one or two daily opportunities for uninterrupted conversation and bonding. A morning or evening walk together, a device-free meal each day, or a nightly board game are some ideas.

Contact TLC if you would like to learn more about our Speech-Language Pathology Department: (301) 424-5200, ext. 159