Meal time

Speech and language practice can be easily done in our everyday routine. We understand that it can be difficult to find time to sit down and practice speech and language homework. It is even more difficult when we have more than one child to look after. You can have lots of fun learning during meal time. Meal time is the perfect time for learning as the food/meal will already be there and you don’t need to bring in anything extra. You can work with what you have.

Here are some speech and language goals you can target during meal time:

Learning names of foods and cutlery: You can name the foods that you have prepared for the meal. Apples, bananas, strawberries, peas, carrots, spaghetti, pasta, porridge, bread, meat etc. You can teach your child by repeating the name of the foods several times. Next time, when you bring out the same foods, see if your child can name them this time. If they don’t, that’s okay, you can give them a clue by saying the sound that the food starts with. You can teach your child names of cutlery you use during meal times as well. For example, fork, knife and spoon.

Actions words: Meal time is a great time to learn action words. You have cutlery and your strong teeth to help you with this. Your child can learn about cutting, pouring, biting and tearing the foods or drinks. For example, pouring the milk, cutting the apples, biting the apple etc.

Describing food colours and textures: Children can learn different colours through fruits and vegetables. They already come in bright colours so let’s make the most of them! You can teach your child orange for carrots, yellow for bananas, red for tomatoes, green for peas, white for milk etc. You can teach your child words to describe the texture of the foods. For example, soft, hard, mushy, crunchy etc.

Requesting: You can teach your child to request for more of the food by saying ‘more please.’ You can challenge your child’s language by adding the name of the food, ‘more milk please.’ This allows the child to remember the name of the food that you may have taught them at the start. You can give your child small portions of the food to encourage them to request for more.

Talk about their day: You can talk about what has happened in their day. You can talk about what will happen after you meal. This allows them the time to practice their story telling and a time for you to teach them. Telling stories is an important skill to have to be able to share ideas and to recall events that occurred.

We suggest children who are old enough to help around the house to be involve in meal preparation. This allows children the opportunity to be helpful and become independent. Children can learn a lot while preparing for meals. They can expand their language skills such as listening to instructions of what to do (e.g. go get the carrots) and sequencing (what to do first then next). Learning can be done everywhere!

We hope these ideas will help you develop your child’s language skills during meal times. If you have any concerns regarding your child’s development, please seek professional advice. Talking Matters provide feeding therapy to support children who find meal times challenging. Be sure to check out our feeding blogs on how to support fussy eaters. You can give our office a call on (08) 8255 7137 to book your appointment today.

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