Creating Routines

For young children typical routines can be full of discoveries and learning! A family’s daily routines provide regular opportunities for children with hearing loss to use language, listening and speech. Think about what happens on an ordinary day. During certain times of the day make it a habit to converse with your child and involve them in typical tasks. They can learn so much from these fun and important conversations. What can you talk about? Anything and everything! Use words and activities that will interest your child. Emphasize those tasks and routines they seem to enjoy. Talk in full sentences to create natural conversations.  

Some ideas include but are not limited to:

  • Converse about upcoming routines at the start of the day and what will happen. (you could discuss the schedules, gather items for going out, or discuss who you will see later). 
  •  Conversations can be about machine noises or people and animal sounds. Your child might help listen for the dryer buzz, baby crying, dog barking, phone ringing, microwave timer, etc.(labeling objects or actions, where to find them, how they work, who/what is making the sound and why, etc) 
  • Create reasons for routine interactions between your child and others. Conversations can start with the exchange of greetings. Your child can practice listening and answering a question, or following a simple request, engage in appropriate conversational turn taking.
  • Describe preparations during mealtime and what you are cooking. The conversation could be about a recipe or how it tastes. They could help stir or talk about who will eat the meal. 
  • Follow a regular nighttime routine and create conversations around that. You could review the day or discuss what to do to get ready to sleep. (pick up toys, brush teeth, pajamas, read a story, good night hugs/kisses, etc.)
  • Other daily routines you can converse about include getting dressed, bath time, play time, going to the store, and riding in the car.

Before you begin, take a moment to consider the environment and what will work best for your child based on their specific hearing needs.

Is hearing assistive technology (hearing aids, cochlear implant, SoftBand hearing aid, Bone Anchored Hearing Aid, Mini-Mic, Roger technology) being worn and working properly? 

Does your child need to see your face while communicating? 

Try to create an optimal listening environment. Sit or stand where your child has access to your face, sounds, and signs. Where possible, reduce background noise and distractions (dishwasher running, a room fan, the television on, etc.). 

Tips: **Pick one or a few of these tips to focus on each time you play.

  • Encourage communication by talking or signing (or use both) while you do an activity. 
  • Explain the order in which you will do things. It might help to create a visual list or to use a calendar for your child to see. 
  • Use time markers such as first, then, last, yesterday, today, tomorrow, morning, evening, afternoon, etc.
  • Introduce vocabulary for days of the week, names of months, and holidays/seasons. 
  • Narrate what you are doing while you are doing an activity. Describe the activities of others. Name objects and actions in phrases and sentences.
  • Practice turn taking, making requests, and eye contact. 
  • Watch for anticipation from your child and practice waiting for your child to make requests or to ask questions. Then recognize and respond to your child’s wants or needs.
  • Help your child to make associations with past or future experiences. Examples: “We came here last week when we bought your new shoes”. “We will play here again tomorrow”. 
  • Model language and give your child words/signs for what they are wanting to say. 
  • Use self-talk to describe your actions or thoughts, or explain what your child is doing or thinking.
  • Expand your child’s words into complete sentences.

Repetition is key to building language – so have fun creating routines and watching your child discover many new ideas by watching, helping and conversing during those routines. Conversations can make any routine fun!


Consider how quickly a seed transforms from a seed to sprout to a blossoming plant. This is similar to your child’s brain during the first few years of life. During this period, the earlier the introduction of language the better the brain develops capacity for language acquisition and communication. Early language learning experiences affect other areas of development and are critical to a child’s future success. Language is necessary to many other aspects of development, including cognitive, social and psychological development.

 Research outcomes show that high levels of family involvement have been found to produce greater language development outcomes in deaf and hard of hearing children. The language enrichment activities on this page are to provide you with suggestions and ideas for fun, engaging ways you and your child can play with the intent to expand your child’s vocabulary during this critical stage of development. We would love to hear your feedback on the activities, and are here to support you as you do these. Feel free to send us a video of you doing an activity with your child, or contact us with comments or questions. 

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Everyday Words

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Bedtime Signs

Spring Weather Walk

Alphabet Song

All About Ladybugs: ASL Informational Videotext

All About Plants: ASL Informational Videotext

What the Sun Sees; What the Moon Sees

All About Plants: ASL Informational Videotext