Fun and Games: Licking Chocolate
Brain development depends not only on motor skills but on sensation as well. You will find this approach in therapies like sensory integration and art therapy, working with bean baths in ergotherapy, and cream in speech therapy.
While therapies have the advantage of working very specifically, they might be expensive and laborious for you. It is much easier to offer more of these experiences at home.
Here is something you can do for speech development (or just to make it easier for an already speaking child):
Sit with your child in front of a mirror. dip a little chocolate cream on the child`s face, close to the mouth, and let it lick it off. Then put it in another spot...
- it is more fun for the child if you do it as well. This means you are sharing a game, not doing therapy with your child. If your child is happy to do that by itself, grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea, and relax.
- you can involve the hands as well - let the child lick some food from its fingers. If you try it for yourself and pay close attention, you will be surprised how varied and intricate the movements of your tongue, hands, lower arms, eyes, jaw, and tongue are.
- Keep it light and funny, this is your rest day - and any fun and good mood will improve the movement quality of your child.
- If your child doesn`t see well or doesn`t stick the tongue out, you can also ask it to "chase" your finger - you touch an area around the mouth, your child should try to press with his/her tongue against it.
I am aware not every child can or should eat chocolate - you can pick something else, of course. I used this example because chocolate tastes good, is sticky (so the child has to work to get it off), and highly visible. Any food with similar characteristics will work as well.