Language in routines

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Andrea Cooper

Andrea Cooper

Language in routines

Using Everyday Routines As Opportunities To Develop Language

Everyday routines are great opportunities for your child to learn language.  They occur every day, often multiple times a day, so your child has many opportunities to listen to your language, try to copy what you say and understand the steps of the routine. 

All you need to do is talk about what you are doing, using language appropriate for your child’s level.  The repetition and familiarity of this talk will assist your child’s language development as they ‘help’ you perform the tasks everyday.

It is also important that you don’t always anticipate the needs of your child in these routines.  We naturally want to assist our children, but sometimes this means we don’t give them an opportunity to initiate a request.  For example, during snack time instead of giving your child water in their cup, give them an empty cup.  Your child will have a reason to communicate with you and will have to say the word “drink” or gesture to you that the water is missing.

Consider creating language opportunities in the following routines:

Bath Time

Language learning opportunities:

  • Body parts, e.g. you can sing “This is the way we wash your leg, wash your le, wash your leg …” Repeat with different body parts.
  • Action words, e.g. splash, kick, stand, sit, wriggle, turn, lift, find, hold

Concept learning opportunities:

  • Describing words, e.g. in, out, up, down, wet, dry
    e.g. You can say: “You’re all wet”, “Let’s dry you”
    “Get in the bath”, “Time to get out of the bath”

Getting Dressed

Language learning opportunities:

  • Body parts, e.g. you can say “Where is your hand? … Oh there is your hand”
  • Action words, e.g. put, lift, hold, stand, sit, turn
  • Names of clothing, e.g. hat, shirt, socks, nappy, pants, shoes

Concept learning opportunities:

  • Describing words, e.g. in, out, up, down, on, off,

e.g. You can say “Shirt goes on”, “Socks come off

  • “Lift your arm up.”, “Put your legs down”
  • Colours and sizes of clothing items

Cooking

Language learning opportunities:

  • Action words, e.g. put, lift, hold, stir, pour, spread, cut, roll, wash, peel, mash, stop, finished
  • Names of food items, e.g. banana, milk, weetbix, peas, flour
  • Names of items used for cooking, e.g. fridge, bowl, spoon, microwave, chopping board
  • Description words, e.g. yummy, yucky, messy, soft, smooth, sweet, lumpy, hard, more

Concept learning opportunities:

  • Describing words, e.g. big, little, hot, cold, in, on

e.g. “Big bowl”, “little spoon”, “Hot soup”, “cold milk”, “Pour milk in the bowl” “Put the banana on the plate”

toddler eating pasta with fork

Mealtimes

Language learning opportunities:

  • Description words, e.g. yummy, yucky, soft, crunchy, chewy, sweet
  • Action words, e.g. eat, drink, more, open, wipe, spill, finish
  • Names of food items

Concept learning opportunities:

  • Up, down, hot, cold, more

e.g. “Up in your chair”, “Down you get”, “This is hot”, This is cold”, “Do you want more milk?”

mother+packing+toys+children+routines

Pack Up and Cleaning

Language learning opportunities:

  • Description words, e.g. dirty, clean, big, round, tall, little, full, empty, away
  • Action words, e.g. sweep, wipe, wash, put, lift, move
  • Names of cleaning items: broom, mop, cloth, bucket, basket
  • Names of toys being put away

Concept learning opportunities:

  • In, on, under, wet, dry

e.g. “Put it in the drawer”, “Put it on the table”, “The dishes are wet”,

Washing Clothes

Language learning opportunities:

  • Description words, e.g. dirty, clean, little, big
  • Possession words, e.g. “your shirt”, “my sock”, “Daddy’s shirt”, “Mummy’s towel”
  • Action words, e.g. wash, lift, put, reach, finished, hang
  • Names of clothing

Concept learning opportunities:

  • Big, little, wet, dry

e.g. “Let’s hang the clothes to dry”, “Daddy’s big shirt”

Gardening

Language learning opportunities:

  • Description words, e.g. dirty, pretty, big, smelly, rough
  • Action words, e.g. dig, pull, fill, cut, throw, water, put, throw, wash
  • Names of plants and tools

Concept learning opportunities:

  • In, on, under, big, little

e.g. “Put it in the bucket”, “Look at the flowers under the tree”, “Dig a big hole”

Happy Talking,

Andrea

Reference: Princess Margret Hospital, Speech Pathology Department – Early Communication Skills Handout