4 PRACTICAL Tips to Share with Caregivers for Summer Speech Success

summer speech success

As you approach the summer months, it’s crucial to equip families with the tools they need to support their child’s speech and language development during this break. Here are 4 easy and practical tips to share with caregivers for summer speech success! 

4 PRACTICAL Tips for Summer Speech Success

  1. Clarify Goals and Strategies
  2. Highlight the Importance of Practice
  3. Encourage Family Involvement
  4. Acknowledge the Importance of Breaks

Clarify Goals and Strategies

First of all, it is important to make sure caregivers clearly understand their child’s specific diagnosis and goals. They also need to be fully aware of what types of prompts their child responds best to. 

This bundle set of Parent Education Handouts is a great resource to share with families! It includes answers to commonly asked questions about speech sound disorders, language delays, and neurodivergence. This resource also helps caregivers understand why you’ve made certain goals for their child. 

Providing clarity through caregiver education reduces stress and results in better outcomes for children. 

Highlight the Importance of Practice

While ensuring families understand their child’s goals and strategies to best support them, that knowledge isn’t going to be enough. It is just as important to ensure caregivers understand the importance of home practice!

Creating positive homework habits doesn’t have to be hard. Sharing information and ideas that are both easy to understand and execute is key! When families understand the importance of practice, the rate of follow through increases, and the likelihood of stalled progress decreases– a big win for everyone!

Types of Practice

Summer practice can be structured or unstructured. The most important thing for families to do is PRACTICE, and that always equates to it being practical practice! 

After you’ve educated parents on the importance of home practice during the summer, also reinforce to them that the practice can be simple and quick to do. Many caregivers don’t even begin summer homework because they think it has to take 30 minutes or an hour each time, like their child’s usual speech sessions. 

Let parents know that 5-10 minutes of practice a few times per week during the summer is often enough to maintain skills.

*Of course, tailor this frequency and duration recommendation for specific students as needed!

Done-for-You Worksheets

Worksheets make practice easy. This Summer Speech Homework Activity Booklet is great to share with families for quick, structured practice. 

Each letter sound booklet contains 10 activities and 2 mini board games for each position (initial, medial, and final). The games are so fun and can be played over and over again for continued practice!

Natural Experiences

Make sure that caregivers know that natural experiences can be great opportunities to target speech goals too! 

Give them examples to consider:

  • Going for a walk– ask open-ended questions, use descriptive words, identify objects
  • Plan simple trips– involve children in sequencing events of the trip and thinking about details such as items needed
    • Picnic at the local park
    • Movie theater
    • Local library’s summer reading program
  • Make sweet treats– food vocabulary, action words, sequencing steps
    • Popsicles
    • Ants on a log
    • S’mores
    • Yogurt parfaits
  • Plan play dates– practice social skills and play skills
  • Read books– identify and name objects, recall story details, talk about the main idea, practice speech sounds
summer speech practice through natural experiences

Encourage Family Involvement

Next, empower families! Let them know that although you are the specialist in speech and language, they are the specialist of their child. 

You’ve already shared about the importance of home practice and given suggestions. Don’t feel like you need to do all of the work! 

Encourage caregivers to create their own unique activities based on home routines, child preferences, and family traditions. 

The language handouts included in the Parent Education Handout Bundle can guide parents if they’re still feeling stumped. These handouts include simple language ideas caregivers can use to support their child using common toys or items at home– which can be so helpful to keep kids motivated!  

Acknowledge the Importance of Breaks

Finally, recognize the importance of summer break! Understand that even your most dedicated families may take some breaks during the summer, and that’s okay! Encourage caregivers to prioritize mental health for both themselves and their children. 

Remind them that summer speech practice does not need to be long or complicated. It should not be mentally or emotionally taxing. If families find themselves feeling overwhelmed, they should take a step back and consider what they can do to motivate their child or take a couple of days off before jumping back into practice.

One More Thing: Mid-Summer Check-In

And one more tip just for you– set up a mid-summer check-in with your families!

This is a great way to gently remind families to continue summer practice. You can send postcards or schedule emails to send out. Summer is full of fun and inconsistent schedules, so this reminder may be just what many families need to finish strong!

summer speech ideas

By effectively communicating these tips and strategies, you are empowering families to take an active role in their child’s speech and language development over summer break. Summer speech success CAN happen!

While you’re doing all of these things for your students and their families, don’t forget to make the most of your summer off as an SLP too! You deserve it!

You may also be interested in reading:

Addressing the Parent Question: How Long Will Speech Therapy Take?

5 EFFECTIVE Ways for SLPs to Promote Practice During School Breaks

Speech Regressions in Toddlers: Why They Happen and How to Help

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The views expressed in this blog are my own and are intended to inspire other speech-language pathologists in their own practice. If you are a parent, teacher or other educator, these ideas are not intended to take the place of treatment by a certified clinician. Read full disclaimer here.