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Effects of Virtual Learning on Speech and Language at Home


​​Online classes can make it difficult for your child to ​learn as it is different than what they are used to. Boys Town National Research Hospital has put together some tips to help you navigate this time.

Tips for Promoting Speech and Lang​uage Development at Home

As a parent, you can encourage development through simple actions throughout the day. The following tips are recommended:


  • Get on your child’s physical level.
  • Pay attention to your child and his/her facial and body expressions.
  • Listen to what your child is saying.

Encourage Conversation

  • Ask about what your child is doing or plans to do. Wait for a response and even respond back.

Extend Language and Learning

  • Repeat what your child says and add more words to extend his/her vocabulary.


  • Practice skills your child has already been working on in everyday routines to continue their learning at home.
  • Hands-on activities such as helping make meals are great for incorporating early math (i.e., measuring), language (i.e., sequencing, what is next?), reading (i.e., reading the recipe or ingredients) and motor (i.e., stirring, dumping) skills.
  • Other hands-on routine activities might include:
    • Having your child help write (or draw pictures for) items on a grocery list
    • Helping with laundry (i.e., matching pairs of socks, sorting clothing for each person, talking about wet vs dry, putting clothing in vs. taking clothing out)
    • Cleaning windows or floors (i.e., talk about wet vs dry, cleaning fast vs. slow, talk about clean vs. dirty, count the number of window to clean).

How to Make Up for the Lack of Meaningful Peer Interaction

In order to make up for the lack of peer interaction, parents should interact with their child more. Having conversations, telling stories, reading, playing games, listening to music and enjoying time together will help your child develop important social interaction skills. Taking time to listen to your child without scolding or interrupting will help your child feel as though what he/she has to say is valued.

It may also be beneficial to set up virtual playdates with your child’s friends. Being able to see and talk to friends, even through a screen, will help your child stay connected.

Activities for Children and their Family

Enjoy this extra time you now have with your child(ren). Below are some suggested activities to do with your child(ren) to stay engaged:

  • Read books
  • Make a scrapbook of impo​rtant people or items and go through it together
  • Sing songs and recite nursery rhymes
  • Go on discovery walks (Look for colors in nature or in the neighborhood; Look for numbers on houses or buildings; Look for letters on signs; Look for shapes in nature and on houses; Listen for different sounds…a lawnmower, a bird chirping, a car driving, a neighbor talking)
  • Dance to music
  • Play hopscotch (Practice drawing squares, writing numbers, and jumping/hopping skills)
  • Make obstacle courses inside the home or outside
  • Have fun looking for cloud shapes or animals in the sky
  • Provide your child with a ruler or measuring tape; Let your child have fun recording the length of items outside (ie, a rock, a stick); Talk about which is the longest vs the shortest
  • Play “I Spy”
Language and Learning Speech Therapy