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3 Ways to Make Your Everyday Routine a Verbal Routine

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

3 ways to make your everyday routine a VERBAL routine

Plain and simple, routines are important for everyone, but they are especially important for children! As adults, we know having structure and a routine can help us in many ways. It can help us start our day on the right foot, allow time for self-care, or even support a better night’s sleep. We know that life gets busy and it can be difficult to follow a routine, but the beauty of a verbal routine is that it can be embedded into everyday activities that you are already doing!

Routines not only help children feel more secure, they also help build language!

What is a verbal routine?

It is when you mostly use the SAME WORDS each time you perform an action. It is PREDICTABLE and REPETITIVE, so that your little one can participate, sequence actions, understand the words, and know what is expected.

These routines can be used anytime and anywhere! You only have to make small additions to what you are already doing.

If you’re like us and you love to eat, you can incorporate a verbal routine surrounding mealtime or while cooking dinner. When it is time to sleep, expand language during bedtime. You can even develop your child’s language while making your morning coffee.

The 3 things you need to make your routine a verbal routine are...

1. A THEME! The theme can be whatever you want it to be, just make it consistent and something that you do almost every day because REPETITION is key. The theme could be bathtime or it could be taking the dog for a walk. It could even be something as simple as brushing your teeth.

2. PREDICTABLE STEPS that occur over and over again

If brushing your teeth is your theme, the steps should be the same each time.

Step 1: Wet your toothbrush

Step 2: Open the toothpaste

Step 3: Put toothpaste on the toothbrush

Step 4: Brush your teeth (top and bottom)

Step 5: Rinse your mouth with water

Step 6: Rinse the toothbrush

Step 7: Smile!

3. Back and forth INTERACTION between you and your child.

You say or do something and then your little one says or does something. For example, You say “brush the TOP teeth” and your child brushes their TOP teeth. You could also hold the toothpaste and wait for your child to say “OPEN” or “OPEN TOOTHPASTE’ or “OPEN PLEASE” and then you can open the toothpaste. The words will initially have to be modeled by you, but you will be amazed at how quickly your child will pick up on the predictable steps of the routine while interacting with you! It is important to give the child WAIT TIME to respond and complete their step of the interaction. This is where you can add in a variety of new words. Words you can use while brushing your teeth: OPEN, TOP, BOTTOM, BRUSH, GIVE, OFF, ON, COLD, HOT, WATER, RINSE, WASH, TOOTHBRUSH, TOOTHPASTE, SQUEEZE, TURN, SINK, FAUCET, TEETH, SMILE, ALL DONE!

Routines will help your child learn these 6 important building blocks of language:

  1. Joint attention

  2. Turn-Taking

  3. Sequencing

  4. Intentional Communication

  5. Comprehension

  6. Building Vocabulary


The Power of Using Everyday Routines to Promote Young Children's Language and Social Skills

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