What is a routine?   “A repeatable series of events that provides a predictable structure to one’s life.” – Chris Montgomery

Routines are a tool for adding structure and predictability to the day – and they are a part of the larger picture of the Communication System.

    • Routines break the large chunk of time that is the day into smaller more manageable segments.
    • Routines provide an external structure on which to hang information and build concepts.
    • Routines can provide external structure when internal structure is not intact.

By allowing for consistent, structured routines we are able to give a reference to build upon. Through routines we learn to anticipate, which allows for less stress and better communication. Routines give meaning to actions and events, while building a memory foundation for other learning.

Some things to consider when constructing a routine:

    • Have a name for each routine.
    • Have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
    • Establish clear roles (i.e. what do you want your student/child to do, and what will you do?).
    • Establish a purpose for the routine.
    • Make your routines repeatable (i.e. don’t just do the routine once and never repeat it – try to do the same (or very similar) thing consistently.
    • Try to add as much consistency between home and school as possible.
    • Routines should be geared toward building concepts.
    • The number one goal when creating a routine should be to teach toward greater independence! 

Two types of routines:

I like to think about routines in two categories, but also along a continuum:

Skills-Based with horizontal green arrow pointing both directions with Communications-based on other end

    • Skills-based:  The focus is more on teaching a skill (i.e. brushing teeth or tying a shoe).
    • Communication-based: The focus is less on teaching a skill and more on bonding and communication – These types of routines are more open ended and kid driven.

Having said that, all routines should include elements of skills and communication, although they may fall closer to one end of this continuum than the other.

    • All routines should be child-driven, have skills that are being learned and practiced. They should be chock full of good conversation and communication – also, don’t forget to have fun, because this is how you will bond!

Thinking along the continuum

    • When you are creating a routine, what are your goals for that routine – or, another way to put it – what is your purpose? Where do these goals fall along the skills/communication continuum? Sometimes it’s good to just write this stuff down – state it.
    • You should always have goals and an idea of where you’re headed with what you are teaching – right?!?