Oral Motor Exercises: Waking up Your Mouth
Oral motor sound exercises can help children who are having difficulties speaking and eating. By exercising the muscles in our mouths it helps us become familiar with using the muscles in our mouths that are very important to making sounds and helping us to be better eaters. In our oral motor exercise series will provide a number of oral motor activities you can practice with your children to exercise those muscles and to encourage language, words and some important parts of being better eaters.
How to Wake Up your Mouth
Have your child start each day with a by waking up his/her mouth. Using a washcloth wipe outside face then over mouth across lips. This is an activity that you can do right alongside your child.
- Use a warm wash cloth and slow motions over the face and mouth for those that have tighter muscles in their faces. This is often referred to as “High Tone”.
- Use a cold wash cloth and quick motions over the face to help those who have weak facial muscles that are referred to as “Low Tone.”
- For each exercise, wipe from the outside of the face toward the mouth. Make sure you go across the lips.
- If you don’t have a washcloth, you can use a napkin and have your child wake up their face by tapping cheeks, around lips, place finger across top lip and move side to side or under the bottom lip and roll upward.
- To accomplish the exercises, try counting or singing while you do the activity.
- You can also making this a special time for your child by purchasing a “special” washcloth in their favorite color just for waking up their mouths.
After Your Mouth is Awake
After waking up the mouth you can start to encourage some oral motor exercises. Repeat the following exercises 5 times. Start by having them imitate the movements you show them. For added fun watch in a mirror
- Tongue Exercises: move side to side, straight out and circle the tongue around the lips. As you do each exercise say “side to side”, “out and in” and “ round and round” to encourage those words with each movement.
- Sound Exercises: to encourage the t, d, n, and l sounds, place your tongue tip up to the alveolar ridge(behind the top teeth). We call this the “speech bump. Have them touch and feel it with their finger too.
This is a great oral motor activity to that can easily be worked into a morning routine but you can really use this activity any time you are going to be working on oral motor exercises or sound play.
Disclaimer: Each child’s needs are individual. We recommend checking with your therapist before performing any of the suggestions in the blog post.
Looking for More Oral Motor Activities?
- Kid Friendly Snack Ideas: Table Hockey
- Smart Play Gift Guide: Echo Microphones
- Smart Play Gift Guide: Bubbles
This post was written by Terri Hess, Speech and Language Pathologist for the S. June Smith Center, in Lancaster, PA. She has a M.S and her Certificate of Clinical Competency from the America Speech and Hearing Association. Terri currently works with children in the Preschool program and has previous worked with children in the Birth to Three and First Step programs.