Inspiration / Speech Therapy
Motivating Your Kiddo’s With Their Homework – by Esther Jang
I walked into the office this morning to see Erica having a fun speech session with a little girl. It looked like she had a long blue toothbrush in her mouth and I was a little curious to know if it was. The little girl looked at me with wide eyes, wondering who I was as I unintentionally took a few minutes of attention away from her.
After noticing her little eyes staring my way, I decided to talk to her. “Is that a toothbrush you have in there?” I asked the little girl. Erica (probably after letting out a giggle in her head) explained to me that it was an oral motor tool. This tool heightened awareness of her mouth muscles. She went on to further explain that this tool, along with flash cards were great positive reinforcements for this little girl. What a wonder! She loved the educational tools that Erica used with her. Over time, these were used as positive reinforcements to reward her for good behavior and hard work. As I further observed this session, I noticed that there were more and more tactics to motivate children in Speech Therapy or at home with their homework.
Snacks are a great way to motivate children and some will do anything for a treat. Finger foods that are bite sized are great treats for kids to eat quickly as a reward to move on with their learning. Can I say instant gratification anyone? For parent’s out there who might want their kids to avoid the sugar high, smaller snacks that are healthier choices are even better! One kiddo loved jellybeans, so his mom brought in a healthier choice of jellybeans with no artificial coloring.
The Star Wars Affect
Using your child’s favorite character from a T.V. show or movie is another great way to motivate. Learning more about these characters and talking about them gets kids jumping at the opportunity to talk about their favorite character. Consider this for easy reading? Storybooks, songs, and pictures are awesome ways to practice speech. For some, being able to label and identify these characters is a huge step. Using complete sentences to talk about their favorite character and/or their role is in the story helps with comprehension as well! BONUS!! Find out what your kids are obsessed with and integrate that into their learning!
Music to my Ears
Music is another great way for kids to practice Speech and many songs that stick to kids come from T.V. shows and movies that children watch. Kids can listen to the same song over and over again and never get tired of it! Memorizing the chorus or lyrics to a favorite song can motivate them to speak naturally. Songs also teach rhyming and rhythm. All good stuff! So go for it – break out your shower voice and have fun with your child!
“Great working!” “Awesome talking.” “Good try!” You hear this throughout the entire day in the office. Verbal reinforcement is absolutely important in motivating our children. The positivity in your voice, the support and the enthusiasm that comes from verbal reinforcement is so important. It’s a vital way for children to feel their efforts are noticed and appreciated. Kids reciprocate and respond to the attitudes that surround them! The words that are expressed upon them can really set them up for a good mood. So keep it up Super Moms of the world.It’s really about what works best for your child. Your child craves the interaction just as much as you do. There really is no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one!
You know your child best!
We say that all the time on the blog and in the Speech Solutions Hawaii offices, but that’s because it is so true. So, while we’ve given you some ideas, take it a step further. What motivates your child and gets them smiling and excited to continue? A trip to the beach? A sleepover with their best friend? An extra 15 minutes of “screen time”?
You may be familiar with a series of books about the “Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman that started from his practice as a marriage counselor. He identified 5 main “love languages” that are uniquely important to each of us: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. These are true from the day we are born! Look at your kiddo – what is their unique language, aka motivator? For some autistic children, physical touch can be almost painful; however, an affirming word makes them light up. They have a quick quiz on their website here that you can do with them or on their behalf. But take a little time to do a some reading online. There are great articles out there that address this from a parents perspective.