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3 Critical Types Of Routines For Children


By: Diana Chase, M.S.

3 Critical Types Of Routines For Children

In an earlier article, I discussed “why” routines are so important.(In general, routines provide children with the security and comfort needed to help them manage unknown and fearful situations.)  As we all know, each and every child is different.  And while some degree of routine will benefit all children, tackling it all at once can be a lot – for both you and your child!

So, let’s first take a look at some areas that might be helpful to provide routines for your child. Then, you can determine what you’re already doing and/or what you can add to your already established routines.

3 Types Of Routines

1. Daily Routines Daily routines can include anything and everything from the order in which you start your day (make your bed, eat breakfast, brush your teeth etc) to a routine with how you’re going to accomplish daily tasks/activities.

For example, a routine could include: eat breakfast, do school work, walk the dog, play outside, water the plants, lunch time etc).

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Daily routines include any consistency you can put in your child’s day so they know what to expect as the day progresses. These can be as specific or general as needed, based on the age of your child(ren) and/or their needs.

2. Transition Routines Many children with special needs find it difficult to transition between various activities, particularly when they need to transition from a more preferred activity to a less preferred activity (Like Special Education Tutoring to eating vegetables as an example).

This is a crucial time to put a routine in place. Doing things such as setting a visual timer to show when the activity will end, combined with verbal or additional visual warnings as the transition times gets closer will help significantly.

Find a key phrase or even play music to remind your child a transition is coming.  And don’t be afraid to provide frequent reminders at predetermined intervals before the transition occurs.  These reminders will make the transition less of a shock.

Another tip: when you’re providing reminders, it’s also helpful to label what the next activity will be so that isn’t a shock, either.

3. Social Routines Again, this is another area that may evoke anxiety and worry, and even fear, in many children, especially those with special needs.

Social routines might include role playing how to engage in conversations with adults, and with friends, as well as setting up routines when you have play dates with other children.  Helping your child by initially doing the same activities, or at least similar activities will help your child feel more comfortable if playdates aren’t the most comfortable situation for them. Likewise, model appropriate social behaviors as often as you can, and as consistently as you can, so your child sees firsthand how social interacts “look.”

Likewise, model appropriate social behaviors as often as you can, and as consistently as you can, so your child sees firsthand how social interacts “look.”

After reviewing the different areas that may be helpful to provide routines for children, hopefully, you have confirmation that you’re already on the path to providing the necessary routines, or maybe you have found some new ways that you can provide routines to further build the security and comfort children deserve!  Bottom line, put any and all routines in place that you can, in any areas of the day/their daily

Bottom line, put any and all routines in place that you can, in any areas of the day/their daily life, to help your child feel more confident and comfortable in those “unknown” and fearful situations.

What type of routines have you found that work for you?


This entry was posted on Sunday, May 14th, 2017 at and is filed under Special Education Tips and tagged as , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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One Response to 3 Critical Types Of Routines For Children

  • Linda Christopherson says:

    Hey, Diana,

    Great article! I hadn’t thought about putting in place a routine addressing social activities. In fact my little one looks forward to ‘play dates’ but I do feel there is good potential in exploring how to fine tune this aspect of a routine because homeschooling means some social interaction is not as readily available.

    I am still very excited about homeschooling and appreciate the resources and information in this website.


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