Question Time:

As I have said many times, meals are the best time to work on speech and language skills. You already have your child's attention without much work. Additionally, meals are naturally motivating and very functional. 

Language Milestones Targeted

Expressive Language

Receptive Language

  • Uses 30-50 words consistently 
  • 60% intelligible to unfamiliar listeners 
  • Imitates words easily 
  • Vocabulary increases each month 
  • Asks simple questions 
  • Follows simple directions 
  • Understands about 300 words

Question Time: Meals

What You Need: Options of food for your child

How To Play: Before a meal, have a few options of food ready for your child. When you start the meal, don't give all the food all at once. Instead, offer your child two choices. Ask a question such as "what do you want to eat?" and then answer your own question with 2 options such as "chicken or fish." Show both choices to your child as you name them using simple language. Wait a few seconds for a response. If your child only points to a food, then use the "3 Strikes and You Win" technique. 

Once you know the name of the food that your child wants but he or she hasn't said the word, hold it close to your mouth and say the name again.  If your child still doesn't repeat the word, offer it halfway and say the name again. Wait a few seconds for a response. If your child still does not say the name of the food, give it to your child as you repeat the word one more time. To review "3 Strikes and You Win," click on the link. 


  • Offer only 2 options.
  • Make sure you show the food to your child as you name it.
  • Use simple language.
  • Ask the initial question and then provide models for 2 possible answers that matches your child's language ability. By offering a choice, your child learns what kind of response such a question requires
  • Your child has the opportunity to repeat words which is a great learning opportunity and/or vocabulary review.

Lunch Time:

    Example Script, What NOT TO DO:
  • Parent: What do you want to eat for lunch?                                                
  • Child: Pointing and whining                                                               
  • Parent: What do you want to eat?
  • Child: Whines louder (frustrated!)
  • Parent: Tell me what you want to eat
  • Child: Crying

In this script, the parent does not offer choices and the child does not know how to respond. This can cause frustration!

Example Script, What TO DO:

  • Parent: What do you want to eat? Chicken (show chicken in one hand) or hamburger (show hamburger in the other hand)?
  • Child: Child points to chicken                                                           
  • Parent: Chicken (bring chicken half way to child)?                               
  • Child: Smiles and points at chicken                             
  • Parent: Chicken (gives child chicken)                                 
  • Child: “tiken!”                                                
  • Parent: Yes, chicken! Good Talking!        

› Questions: Meal


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