Making the Most of Daily Routines

​Routines are activities we do every day – like cooking a meal or getting ready for bed.

Routines can provide comfort to adults and families because they make our lives more predictable. This is true for our children, too. Predictable routines help children know what will happen next. This also helps children feel safe and secure.

Routines Are Great For Language Learning

Language used in routines is also predictable. Take advantage of this to teach new words and phrases. Some of the first language your baby understands and uses will probably be part of a family routine.

Common Family Routines

  • Eating (meal time)
  • Dressing
  • Going for a ride
  • Going for a walk
  • Bath time
  • Going to bed

Practice Thinking About Routines

Think of some family routines. Watch your baby and listen to yourself as you complete daily activities. What is the most natural language to go with each action? How do you give your baby access to that language?

Ask yourself:

  • Are the hearing aids or cochlear implants on the child and working?
  • Is there background noise?  Is the television turned off until the routine is over?
  • Can brothers and sisters take their conversation into another room?  Or better yet, can they join you in the routine?
  • If we are signing, do we know the signs we need for talking about this routine?

All of the skills discussed in Building Conversations and Building Concepts on this website will be useful here. The principles of language development stay the same in every situation.

​Examples of Using Routines:​Natural Language:​Providing Access:
​Going for a walk (ride in the stroller or baby trailer).
  • "Want to go outside?"
  • "Let's walk."
  • "Ride in the ______ (stroller, trailer)."
  • "Put on your _______ (helmet, jacket, shoes)."
  • "Look at the _______ (bird, cars, flowers, etc)."
  • ​Use your chosen communication mode.
  • Show your baby the stroller, helmet or object.
  • Point at the object you are talking about.
​Getting in the car seat
  • "We are going for a ride."
  • "In your car seat."
  • "Strap you in, buckle up!"
  • "Let's put your arm through."
  • "All buckled!"
  • "Now you are safe."
  • "You can watch out the window."
  • Use face to face communication.​
  • Show your child the buckles and straps as you use them.
  • Allow you baby to help – teach the routine of putting arms through.