How to improve your child’s motivation in learning

A method that we as speech and language therapists have found to be highly effective for retention of knowledge and language skills as well as for increasing the child’s motivation to participate is by incorporating multisensory stimulation in speech and language activities.

At Amazing Speech Therapy, we love sharing how to incorporate these strategies into your child’s activities to support their communication and language development. Here, we have broken down the multisensory approach into 5 easy, replicable strategies.

1. Play

Playing with your child is a great way to help them to increase their knowledge of words that are represented by objects. It can help them understand how objects are used in the real world and lead to the understanding and awareness of how toys can represent real things and people.

2. Gestures / Acting

The use of gesturing and acting are a great way to help your child understand what is going on and what verbal words associated with the gesture mean. For example by saying “it’s time for a drink” coupled with pretending to drink from an imaginary cup. The gesturing of drinking provides the appropriate clues alongside verbal language for your child to understand what is about to happen.

3. Visualization

Try to utilize various types of visual supports to paint a clearer picture for your child! Drawing pictures, watching videos or looking at objects together is a great way to help your child visualize what you’re discussing about. This will help them form a clearer understanding and association of ideas by pairing a visual representation to verbal words. For example, if you’re talking to your child about tigers, try to incorporate pictures, videos or physical toys. You might point out parts of the tigers body, actions that tigers might do, or show them it’s habitat. All of these methods will help them to learn, store and recall new information more readily.

4. Singing / videos

Using music that your child loves is a great way to facilitate language! Singing songs, paired with gestures and videos can help your child learn and use some new words. The power of the pause also helps tempt your child to elicit spoken language. You can do this by pausing before the certain words in the song for your child to fill in the blanks.

For example, when singing and gesturing to ‘The Wheels on the Bus’, you might sing “The wheels on the …… BUS… go round and round, round and round, round and …… ROUND!”. This is a naturalistic and engaging way to facilitate spoken language from your child.

5. Speech sounds

Always encourage exploration of sounds throughout the day, during day-to-day activities and when playing with your child. Your child may or may not imitate you when first starting out. However, introducing new sounds in relation to actions and objects around them would definitely help to familiarize them with a variety of sounds and relate concepts together. For example, this can be done by playing with animal sounds (snakes say ‘sssss’, cows say ‘moo’, etc.) or pairing a sound with an action (sleeping paired with snoring sounds, saying ‘mmmmm’ after eating something delicious, etc). To really solidify the multisensory approach, it would be even better to pair these sounds with gestures to strengthen the concept and associated ideas.

All these strategies play a different role in contributing to your child’s learning experience. We encourage parents to stay creative and incorporate various senses to facilitate holistic learning for children!