Verbs are a key part of language development. In this post you’ll learn about why verbs matter, the benefits of coaching caregivers during daily routines, and three easy ways you can encourage verbs in daily routines during your parent-coaching sessions.
Why do verbs matter?
As therapists, we know that verbs are a crucial part of language development. Children’s early vocabulary is very noun-heavy, but verbs help children communicate in increasingly complex ways. Every sentence needs a verb, and verbs help children to begin using early phrases and sentences (typically around 2 years old).
The benefits of coaching caregivers during daily routines
There is a wealth of evidence supporting routines-based interventions. I focus on this a lot in my Early Intervention Handbook, if you’d like to learn more about parent-coaching in daily routines.
Coaching parents/caregivers through daily routines addresses the child’s language needs in a naturalistic environment. When we embed skills and language facilitation strategies within daily routines, it effectively helps parents/caregivers to provide the necessary support for the child’s development, and increases the child’s participation in activities at home.
This all helps to improve carryover at home, and to increase communicative opportunities and participation for the child, while also supporting a family-centred approach to therapy delivery (Crawford and Weber, 2014).
So it makes a lot of sense why we should encourage verbs during daily routines- it gives children a natural and age-appropriate way to hear and learn language. In this post you’ll gain some ideas for how you can do this effectively in your early intervention sessions.
Using the commenting strategy to encourage verbs in daily routines
One easy way you can encourage the use of verbs during daily routines is by coaching parents/caregivers to use the commenting strategy.
Commenting involves talking about what they and their child are doing as they go about their daily routines. You can to coach parents/caregivers to comment on what is happening, what they and their child (and other family members, friends, or pets) are doing, what they can see, hear, feel, etc.
When done properly, this simple but effective strategy exposes children to a lot of language that relates to their actions, and helps them learn the words. For ideas and examples of how you can coach parents/caregivers to use the commenting strategy during daily routines, check out the Early Intervention Handbook here.
Encouraging verbs in daily routines using the Focused Stimulation approach
Another effective way you can encourage the use of verbs during daily routines by using the Focused Stimulation approach.
This evidence-based approach involves the adult modelling the target words multiple times during play and daily routines. The child has multiple opportunities to hear the target words, but there is no pressure for them to use the words. In this case, the target words would be verbs.
The Verb themed Early Language Unit has a range of ideas for how you can encourage verbs during daily routines and play. There is also a parent-friendly handout with ideas for how you can target 12 different verbs during daily routines.
The Early Language Units are designed to make planning and delivering your early intervention sessions a breeze. And the activity pages and parent-friendly handouts make this even easier.
Encouraging verbs using songs and rhymes
Another great way to encourage verbs during daily routines is through repetitive songs and rhymes.
Songs and rhymes are naturally repetitive, so there are many opportunities for the child to hear the target words. You can also change the words to match the verb or activity.
I share a range of ideas for different songs and rhymes for encouraging verbs in the Verb Early Language Unit.
My favourite tune to use is “Here we go round the mulberry bush” because you can easily change the words to match the verb and activity. For example “this is the way we wash our hands, wash our hands, wash our hands”. There are more ideas and examples in the Verb Early Language Unit.
More ideas for encouraging verbs
I hope this post has given you some ideas for how you can encourage verbs during daily routines.
If you would like more ideas, in this blog post you’ll learn about 3 engaging activities you can use to teach verbs.
And in this blog post you’ll find out about 7 adorable books you can use to teach verbs.
Do you have other ways you encourage verbs during daily routines? Let me know in the comments!