Virtual Therapy – How Parents Can Help Their Preschoolers

In the time of virtual therapy where parents are heavily involved during sessions, parents want to know what they can do to support their child. Here are a few tips to help your preschooler prepare for success during each session: 

  • Meet their basic needs – Make sure your preschooler is fed, has used the bathroom, is dressed, has followed their regular sleeping schedule, and has water nearby.
  • Prepare them – Remind them about therapy the day before and the morning of therapy; if your preschoolers ask “how much longer?” during tasks, you can set a timer so they can see the count down. Make sure their device is charged or plugged in before logging into the session. If they have a difficult time transitioning to therapy, work with your SLP to create a visual schedule. 
  • Remind them to listen with their whole body – This means they will keep their eyes on the speaker, their body near the speaker and ears listening to the speaker. Keeping their face and mouth in view of the camera also helps their SLP (and group) hear and see them. 
  • Remove distractions – Make sure the environment is quiet. Turn off any other screens, and remove toys from the space. If your preschooler is distracted by seeing their own image, remove their video from the screen on the platform you’re using. 
  • Practice taking turns at home – Remind your preschooler to take turns talking during the therapy session especially if there’s a group of students. You can practice at home by playing games that require turn taking.
  • Participate with them – Be ready for anything from singing and dancing to rhyming and clapping. You will be the in-person model for your child to imitate and they’re more likely to have fun if they see you having fun! Parents also play a large role in muting and unmuting microphones when needed during sessions. Plan to stay with them throughout the session and if that’s impossible, remain within earshot to help if the SLP needs you.
  • Give them time to respond – If your preschooler doesn’t respond right away, they might still be thinking so there is no need to repeat the question, provide hints, or anything else. Follow the SLP’s lead when your child is struggling. They will determine how long to wait and what kind of cues and level of support your child needs.


Author: Kristin Padilla, MS, SLP-CF

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