Sometimes, I suppose, routines can feel dull. As in "doing the same thing over and over again". Merriam Webster defines routine as a regular course of procedure, or a habitual or mechanical performance.
But routines have their perks, especially for children. (And certainly for some adults, but that is another story all together...)
There is comfort for children in having a routine. Routines provide a sense of safety and predictability, as well as build independence. They can be created for activities and tasks that happen on a daily or consistent basis and are useful for both home and school. Daily routines are meant to be explicitly and systematically taught.
Some examples of home routines might include:
a morning routine for getting dressed
take off pajamas/bed clothes
put on underwear, shorts, and t-shirt
put on socks and sneakers
a morning bathroom routine
wash your face
brush your teeth
brush your hair
a morning breakfast routine
take out milk, cereal, bowl and spoon
pour cereal in bowl, pour in milk
sit at the table and eat breakfast
Some examples of school routines might include:
hang up your backpack
take out your school materials, notes, agenda, etc.
put in bin, on table, etc.
start your morning activity
transitioning from activity to activity during the school day
work/engage until the timer goes off
clean up your work space
go to the classroom meeting area
clean up your work space/desk/table
gather materials to take home
get your backpack
listen for announcements
Routines are designed to be automated, leading to independence for children and increased "freedom" for the teacher/parent to handle what they need to as they move throughout their day as well. Many routines are strengthened by using visual supports (i.e. photos, images, drawings) to indicate steps.
Click here for a program to find images and photos and create visual supports: LessonPix
For children with more complex disabilities and differences, these routines might need to be more detailed. Some children benefit from a task analysis type of routine, where steps are broken down in to one step, simple directions that are more manageable (i.e. unbutton coat, take off coat, hang up coat, walk to chair).
Read more about Task Analysis here: Task Analysis: Steps for Implementation
However you determine routines for your own child or for your students, routines are a key part of the day.
So as your kiddo heads off to school in the next few weeks, remember that routines help reduce stress, create greater independence, and foster confidence.
Go get 'em, Kid Boss...
For more information on how to create routines and grow independence in every child, go to: Inclusiveology.