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Back to the Ol' Routine... and School!

Aaahhh... routines.

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:

  • morning arrival

    • 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

  • afternoon departure

    • 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.

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