In almost every Coffee Chat, Tracy Pierce Bender has stressed the importance of creating a schedule for you and your child to follow. Regardless of what you are introducing—a new word, skill, food item, etc.—schedules are important because they show your child what is expected and they help you as the parent stick to a consistent system. Having a schedule takes part of the responsibility to enforce off of you, the parent, and puts the responsibility onto the schedule. It also shows your child (and YOU) that there is a light at the end of the tunnel; once you work through steps 1-3, you get a break and positive reinforcement. Below are some examples of schedules you could create for your home.
Let’s say your child is beginning to imitate sounds. Focus on 5 words your child is most motivated to learn, decide which sound(s) you want to teach in relation to the words your child is motivated to learn, and then prioritize. Once you have this down, create daily opportunities to practice these sounds. For example, Sally loves cookies and knows that there are cookies in the pantry. Lock the pantry door and only allow Sally a cookie if she approximates a sound related to “cookie.” Or maybe Sally just learns “o” for “open” at first. Make your schedule consistent at home and at school.
Here’s another example: You’re trying to teach Bobby how to say or approximate the word “drink” and you know he loves to sip his apple juice before he goes to school. Create a schedule: Get dressed- Drink- School. This schedule shows what is expected and this routine will elicit a routine in language; it will help Bobby understand the function of language.
Have a schedule that works well for you? Send a picture of it to email@example.com and we’ll post it on this blog!