Many of us have started to make walking a part of our daily routine. It has so many benefits for both the body and mind. As Speech and Language Therapists we see it as yet another opportunity to enhance language development in a positive and fun way.
Talking out loud about what you are doing (self talk) and talking out loud about what your child is doing (parallel talk) is an excellent strategy that we can use to help children with language difficulties. Both self and parallel talk allows children with language difficulties to make sense of the world around them. What better way to do this then when out on your daily walk. While out walking and exploring new things, talking allows the child to hear and learn new vocabulary. We see so many wonderful things when out walking that facilitates and encourages language development.
As you skip past your child (you will have had your porridge that morning!!) simply say 'I am skipping' and here you are using the self talk strategy. As your child runs down the path (safely), you can use parallel talk 'You are running fast'. As she picks a flower say 'You are picking a snowdrop.' This adds meaning to what they are doing and teaches new vocabulary.
We target language in many ways. So many parents do it without even realising. The more aware we are of a simple strategy, the more likely we are to use it.
So keep walking and keep talking!!!
The Speech Sound Clinic.