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Baking Up Language Skills: The Power of Self-Talk in the Kitchen


Baking cookies with your child is not only a delicious and enjoyable activity but also an opportunity to enhance their language skills. As pediatric licensed speech and language pathologists, we understand the importance of evidence-based strategies in fostering language development. Self-talk, a skilled technique widely employed in our field, proves to be a valuable tool during baking sessions. In this blog post, we will explore how self-talk, using concise and descriptive language, can encourage language growth and create a delightful baking experience for you and your child.



What is Self-Talk?

Self-talk is an evidence-based strategy used by pediatric licensed speech and language pathologists to facilitate language development in children. It involves narrating our actions and thoughts during interactions, providing children with language models directly tied to our activities. The length of self-talk phrases may vary based on the child's skill level, ensuring they are simple and comprehensible.


Baking Cookies: A Language-Rich Activity

Baking cookies presents a perfect opportunity to engage in self-talk and support your child's language development. The interactive and multi-sensory nature of baking stimulates their senses and provides a context ripe with language learning possibilities. Let's explore how self-talk can enhance the experience.

  1. Measuring and Mixing: As you gather ingredients and measure them out, engage in self-talk by describing your actions using concise language. Say, "Pour flour," "Crack eggs," or "Mix dough." These phrases provide a language model tied to your actions, helping your child associate language with specific tasks in the baking process.

baking ingredients on a white cloth with eggs in a green bowl, a green scale, and a blue striped white bowl with flour

2. Describing Steps: While explaining the steps of the recipe, use self-talk to guide your child's understanding. Say, "Roll dough," "Cut shapes," or "On the tray." This aids in following directions, expands their vocabulary, and helps them grasp the sequential actions involved in baking.


3. Engaging the Senses: Baking engages multiple senses, providing rich opportunities for language development. Use self-talk to describe sensory experiences, such as "Smells yummy," "It's sticky," or "Taste sweet." This descriptive language enhances their ability to express their sensory perceptions and builds their vocabulary.


Incorporating self-talk, using concise and descriptive language, while baking cookies creates a language-rich environment and supports your child's language development. By narrating your actions and experiences during the baking process, you provide them with valuable language models tied directly to their interactions. Remember, self-talk phrases should be short and simple to ensure comprehension.


So, grab your aprons, preheat the oven, and embark on a baking adventure that not only delights your taste buds but also nurtures your child's language growth. Baking with self-talk as your secret ingredient, you will watch your child's language skills rise to new heights!

Remember, it's not just about the cookies—it's about creating memorable moments filled with language learning and a sense of togetherness.


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