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  • Writer's pictureBrittany Martin

7 Fun Ways Fathers Can Boost Their Child's Speech and Language Development

With Father's Day around the corner, June is the perfect month to remind dads how they can actively contribute to their child’s speech and language development. Mothers are often thought of as the primary communication models for children, but studies have shown that dads have a significant impact on the speech and language development of young children.

Fathers can offer a different slant on play, explanations, and even organizing steps to tasks than mothers, but many dads may feel they don’t know where to start to help their child grow their communication skills. The great news, if you’re a father, is that supporting your child’s development doesn’t take any special skill sets beyond engaging in play with a bit of intentionality.

ways fathers can boost speech and language

To honor the role of dads in their children’s lives, we’ve put a list together of seven activities that boost your child's speech and language development and encourage positive connections that we think you’ll enjoy as much as your kids.

1. Take a walk through the city or a park. Explore the wonders of the outdoors together. Play a game of “I Spy,” and you’ll encourage your child to identify, describe, and name different environmental elements they see like plants, animals, and structures. By simply getting outside and talking, you’ll enhance your child’s vocabulary skills, observation abilities, and expressive language. Visit the Chicago Park District’s website to see all the beautiful places you can explore with your child.

2. Create a treasure hunt. Similar to a scavenger hunt, you can use your home or yard for this simple but very fun game for older children. Create clues that involve reading and following instructions to collect items in appointed locations. Your child may even want to invite a friend or two over to solve the puzzles and find hidden treasures. They’ll enjoy the adventure, and you’ll help them promote their listening skills, problem-solving abilities, and verbal communication.

3. Play sports. Get out the frisbee, soccer ball, or basketball. Sports are a good way to give children practice using language skills such as math-related vocabulary, social language, and understanding directions. The added plus of sports is that both you and your child get exercise while having fun!

4. Go on a picnic. Plan a picnic outing with your child and spend quality time conversing in a relaxed outdoor setting. Before heading out to your favorite park, select your menu together. Talk about the food, surrounding nature, and the sounds around you. Ask open-ended questions, share stories, and actively listen to your child's responses.

5. Enjoy music together. Music is a powerful tool for language development. Singing helps children develop an ear for sounds and patterns while enhancing memory skills. You can sing songs, nursery rhymes, and lullabies with young children, and if you play an instrument, dress up and form a band with your school-aged child. Help them tap out song rhythms, read lyrics, and talk about different music genres. And if you want to get out and enjoy a beautiful day and live music, check out one of the many free music festivals offered across Chicago during the summer months.

6. Get in the wrestling ring! Horseplay is something all kids love doing with their dads, but you may not have realized how easy it is to make wrestling a language-building task. You and your child can create funny wrestler names and personas, make costumes, and write ring-entering descriptions for each of you to read before pulling out the pillows or taking each other down with tickles.

7. Have an outdoor storytelling session. Find a cozy spot outdoors, such as under a tree or on a blanket, and have storytelling sessions with your child. Take turns creating stories and characters using elements from the surrounding environment. Encourage your child to use their imagination, ask questions, and contribute to the story's development. This activity stimulates creativity, narrative skills, and active listening.

Fathers have a unique opportunity to actively contribute to their child's speech and language development. Through a variety of play and exploration experiences that don’t require more than a sunny day or items around your home, fathers can create memorable experiences while nurturing essential communication skills.

This Father's Day, seize the opportunity to strengthen your bond with your child while confidently promoting their speech and language abilities! And if you think your child needs additional support in speech, language, or literacy development, our team at BMS Pediatric Therapy Group is here to help!



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