Practice on the Go

Posted by Kimberly Delude, Speech Pathologist and Boys Town Press Author on Dec 1st 2021

We all have busy lives. Between sports practice, running errands or finally taking that road trip, it often feels like there isn’t time for everything. Something has to give. Usually, that something is the extra social skills practice or speech homework. However, don’t work harder, work smarter. Language and social skills are actually some of the easiest pieces to incorporate when you are on the go. In fact, you’re probably already doing it to an extent without knowing it.

Here are four ways to up your practice while not disrupting your busy life:

1. Build it into something you are already doing.

Think about things you are already doing like meal times. Even if you are on the road you still have to eat. This is the perfect time to work on a variety of things. For instance, practice appropriate greetings when you are at the cashier or work on personal space when you are in line. You can even have your child take your order and give it at the counter or window.

2. Put your kids in charge.

This will not only target their goals but help you out in the process. Packing for a trip or getting ready for a big game? Have your child be in charge of the list of things and checking off what you need to bring. Or on a smaller scale have them be in charge of just remembering one or two must bring items. Work on sorting and deductive skills by telling them they are going somewhere warm and see what items they pack. If they end up bringing a jacket instead of a swimsuit this creates a great opportunity to talk about why they would/wouldn’t need the items.

3. Practice using car ride games.

We’ve all played them, and they really do help to pass time and cut down on fighting. Turn the volume off on the iPad/tv and work on identifying character emotions. Or give them a letter, preferably the sound they are working on, and have them shout out as many objects they see on the drive that have that sound in it. Practice reading signs in different tones and have them guess how you are feeling.

4. Sneak in practice by reading books.

If your kids are old enough, always have a few on hand in the car. They can read them to you and be sure to ask questions. Even if they are too young to read the words, they can talk about what they see in the pictures or you can try to retell the story to them from the front seat. Spice it up if it’s a favorite book and say something wrong to see if they catch it or assign everyone characters and talk about what you would do if you were in the situation from the story.

Practicing doesn’t have to be fancy or boring. You can find ways to make it work for you so that your child doesn’t miss out on valuable learning time.