The Power of Routines

Turn ordinary moments into opportunities for learning

Routines are a central part of every child’s day. Now that school has started, your child may need to get settled into new daily routines and transitions. Here are some simple ways to help prepare your child for their day:  


Make a Plan 

With your child, talk through what you do every day in what order during your morning and/or evening routines to help your child keep a focused attention. On a piece of paper, they can draw pictures that represent each part of their morning and/or evening routine. A nighttime routine may have drawings of a bath tub, tooth brush, pajamas, and a storybook. Each day, they can check off each part of their plan to help them progress through their routine.  

You can also use this printable to help you get started!

Self-talk or Song 

Once a plan is established, use a self-talk strategy, such as a chant, to keep a focused attention until the task is completed. A morning routine chant might be: Wake-up, potty time, eat and brush my teeth; a bedtime routine chant might say: Soapy water, warm pajamas, brush our teeth, story time, then we say night-night!  

Your friend Elmo uses a chant to help him get ready in the morning:

Assistant Chef 

Together, you and your child can prepare their meals for the day. They can help spoon low-fat plain yogurt into their bowl and rinse berries to go on top. For their school lunch, they can help put together a turkey, cheese, and lettuce sandwich and place baby carrots into a small container. For dinner, they can help mix the ingredients together in a bowl for a vegetable salad.  

When you model healthy habits and routines in all aspects of life (i.e., eating nutritious food, practicing good hygiene, getting enough sleep) your child can keep practicing healthy habits themselves, and they’ll continue to learn what they need to do to stay healthy and strong. 

Here are some additional resources to help prepare your child for daily transitions, add structure, and maximize learning during routines: