Every milestone is important for a child’s overall growth. The milestone can be physical as well as developmental. The common developmental delays that most children face are language delay and clarity in speech. This post will introduce you to simple yet effective exercises that can bring tremendous change in clarity of speech in kids.
My previous post was on “Warning Signs of Language Delay” that highlighted on the red flags that parents should watch out for growing kids. Early intervention and professional help could do wonders in a kid’s life. Red flags or warning signs help you to track down what a child has achieved at his age and what should have been his achievement. The wider the gap the more help a child needs.
Being a twin mom, you are not on cloud nine when you see only one child achieving milestone before or early. In fact, you are equally or more worried about the other for not achieving.
My worry started when my son was two and he was not uttering a single word apart from babbling. With little effort from our side, the first word that he uttered was “Mumma” clearly and luckily on my birthday. The best gift that a mother can ever receive. Gradually, he started picking up words especially the ones that her sister often uttered. We were happy as parents, that maybe he is a little slow but he is picking up.
With the passage of time, he started speaking but except for a few words, most of them were unclear. At times, even I had to struggle hard to understand what he spoke.
We were in dilemma whether to seek any professional help for him as communication is important not only to express but can affect kid’s behavioural aspects. After a lot of research, reading, and counselling from Paediatricians, I understood how simple, fun-filled exercise could help parents in achieving desired results for their kids.
Before introducing the exercises it’s important to know the organs which help in producing speech sound. All of the body parts that we use to produce speech sounds are called the Articulators. In order to teach your kid how to produce a sound like a parent, it was necessary for me to understand the articulatory system first.
Articulatory System comprises of the following parts:
Above seven parts play a vital role in the production of speech. Out of the seven parts, tongue and lips are involved in almost producing all sounds of English. Here, I have focused on those consonant sounds which most of the kids struggle with /t/, /d/, /s/, /z/, /l/, /r/, and /n/.
I won’t take the credit of introducing these exercises all by myself but have learnt from various sources like Books, Journals, Speech therapy videos etc.
These exercises are fun but go a long way in bringing clarity in speech. Here, exercises are suggested to develop mouth muscles and strengthen them to improve speech clarity.
So, here you go!!
FUN EXERCISES FOR KIDS FOR SPEECH CLARITY
Pretend play is not only a fun activity but rather something that encourages learning skills and cognitive development. Pretend play goes beyond the boundaries of pure imagination and embraces reality by branching out from its settings. I was not aware that this could also be used to enhance language development and speech clarity. Though there are seven articulators but tongue, lips and teeth play the most important role.
Here are three different ways of developing muscles of tongue and lips through pretend play.
Pretend Play as if you are riding a motorbike-
Kids especially boys love this game and usually pretend as if riding a motorbike while running around the house. Just encourage them to do more often by making a sound like a motorbike by vibrating their lips. It’s very good for the development of lip muscles.
Pretend play as construction worker drilling with Jack Hammer –
Try making sound with your tongue as if you are drilling with your Jackhammer. This is an easy and wonderful exercise for tongue muscles. The tongue is the most vital articulator for producing various sounds.
Pretend as if you are shivering with cold (Teeth Chatter)
A lovely exercise to strengthen your jaws both upper as well as lower.
2. Hum with your kids –
Humming is a beautiful exercise to open up your throat or vocal cords and help in producing rich as well as clear sound. While doing this make sure your lips are stretched little wide sideways with mouth closed completely. Air should not be able to pass out from the mouth. The sound comes from the throat and helps in producing a rich and clear sound.
3. Sing with your child –
This is another joyful activity that kids love especially when mom sings with them. You can sing in front of them showing how your lips or tongue moves to produce sound.
4.Yawn or fake yawning–
This is another warm-up exercise that few speech counsellors also use to develop muscles of lips, jaw and soft palate which is found at the back of the mouth.
5. Blowing Balloons –
This is another easy exercise that kids love to do and helps in articulation.
These exercises are tried and tested on my son and have seen the difference in producing sound. Currently, he speaks more clearly. These exercises are simple yet effective as it helps in developing the articulators or in other words the speech organs.
So, before seeking professional help or speech therapy as a parent you can go for the above-mentioned exercises and see the difference for yourself. In spite of exercises if still there is no progress then immediately seek help from speech counsellors.
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