A Parent’s Guide to Expanding Language Part 2: Meal Time

Here is the second edition of this three-part segment. If you missed Part 1, you can find it HERE. Meal Time Meal time is another great part of the day to offer chances for developing your child’s language. Again, incorporate those “Wh” questions! Discuss object functions, compare and contrast, make predictions!

  • What do we use to eat soup?
  • What do we use to cut food?
  • How is a spoon and fork different?
  • What do we drink out of?
  • Where do we put our dirty dishes?
  • Why do we use a napkin?

Many steps are used when preparing or cleaning up after dinner. Talk about them! Have your child help prepare the meal and have them tell the other family members what they did! This is also great for following simple and multi-step directions.

  • Tell me the steps for setting the table.
  • Tell me the steps for making a sundae/sandwich/muffin.
  • What did you add to the bowl AFTER the eggs?
  • What did we mix FIRST?
  • Add the sugar, THEN stir it together.
  • BEFORE you turn the mixer on, add the flour.

Describe your food! Talk about the categories: is it a fruit, a veggie, a meat? What does it look like? What does it taste like: sweet/sour/salty? What does it feel like? Compare and contrast. There are so many words you can teach with food!

  • Ice cream is a dessert. It is cold. It is sweet. It has many flavors. My favorite is chocolate.
  • A strawberry is a red fruit. It has seeds. They are smaller than a watermelon.
  • The ketchup is red, but the mustard is yellow. They are both condiments.

More interesting verbs are also a big part of meal time. Acting out the action is a perfect way to provide a visual definition for a new word.

  • whisk, stir, mix
  • pinch, layer, melt
  • dip, spread, taste
  • fry, bake, grill
  • Chop, cut, slice

When everyone is sitting in their place at the table, it presents a great visual to teach possessives as well.

  • Whose napkin is this? It is Daddy’s
  • Whose plate is this? It is mine.
  • This is my
  • This is his/her/your

Part three will include two more settings: bath time and ANYTIME. In the meantime, one of the best strategies for expanding language is modeling. It may feel weird to talk about everything you are doing, but narrating out loud is a wonderful way to model for your child how to incorporate more words into their expressive language.

-Shannon Greenlee M.A., CCC-SLP

**If you have any concerns with your child’s speech, language, and/or feeding development, please contact Sidekick Therapy Partners at (865) 693-5622. We have a team of experienced speech-language pathologists that would love to meet with you and discuss options for your child.**

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