Everyone understands the myriad of benefits of doing teletherapy exercises at home. Simply put, the more your child practices, the quicker the improvement. But as those who have become veterans of teletherapy know all too well, it doesn’t always work out that way.
A couple of days away from that terrific teletherapy session, and where has all the enthusiasm gone? Don’t let this temporary setback throw you for a loop. Do you or a loved one find yourself going home from the speech therapist’s office with the best of intentions only to lose enthusiasm after a day or two?
Don’t get discouraged! Homework can be a success if you know what to do.
1) Schedule a time for teletherapy homework
First of all, you know as well as me that anything that is important must be recorded on the calendar like any other meeting or appointment. Think carefully and then schedule a time when you can be sure that you have the requisite time, energy and focus. Selecting a slot around the same time every day will increase your odds of success. Consistency is key!
2) Make a homework plan
Usually your SLP will assign specific exercises which makes things pretty simple. But if the nature of the teletherapy homework has been left up to you, the following structure may be helpful. “Sandwich” the most challenging part of the homework between an easy entree to help your kid warm up, and an easy finish which will leave your child feeling successful and confident.
3) Pick a good spot for the homework
Remember that you want your child to be comfortable, but not too comfortable to do his/her homework. You want your kid to be relaxed to enhance focus, but avoid too much of a good thing. Perhaps working at the kitchen table or at the bedroom desk is that happy medium. There are no hard and fast rules so experiment with what “level of comfort” will maximize results.
4) Minimize distractions during the homework
In our world inundated with sounds of technology, you will need to eliminate background noise to the best of your ability if you want your child to be able to focus. That means turning off the television and radio, silencing alerts on the computer, and switching the setting on your phone to vibrate. Ask the other children to play elsewhere and try some soft background music.
5) Watch out for frustrations from doing homework
Both parent and child frustration have the potential to kill the homework very quickly. Perhaps your child isn’t “getting it” fast enough for you. Stop, take a deep breath and calm down. Or maybe your child keeps getting stuck on the same sound. Time to take a break? Someone may be too tired for this work! It is better to bail out early than to keep pushing if it just isn’t going.
6) Reward the effort invested in the homework
While it is essential to set goals, it is more important to reward effort than accomplishment. Aside from being a strategy to minimize frustration, paying the effort reinforces that trying is paramount. After all, what is the greatest guarantee that the child will succeed, but to keep working even when he/she experiences repeated failure?