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Creating daily routines for your deaf child

Published Date: 21 May 2020
Photo: Two young girls being read to by their father.

For all children, change can be scary. This is often heightened when a child is deaf as they might not have had some of the same cues as a hearing child. For example, a hearing child might overhear their parents talking about needing milk and that they need to go the shops. Therefore, when they are given a coat and told they are going out it may not come as much of a surprise.

Have set times for regular activities

Although it is important for your child to get used to change, there are certain things you can do to reduce anxiety or frustration. For example, having a set time for breakfast and dinner can make sure your child knows when it’s time to tidy up from playing. Having a set night time routine can also help. For example, after dinner they have a bath, read a story, and go to sleep. 

Using countdown warnings

It could also help to give countdown warnings. For example, give your child a 10-minute warning, and count down to five minutes, and then three. This may help them to feel more comfortable as they have the opportunity to finish what they’re doing and prepare for the next activity. You could give a countdown warning verbally or use signs, or resources such as a sand timer, so they can see how much time they have left.

Creating a visual plan for their day

You could also use a visual timetable with pictures to display the plan for the day and the order of each activity. For example, getting up, brushing teeth, putting in hearing aids, getting dressed, and having breakfast. Putting this on the wall will give your child a visual cue for their daily activities and can help them to understand what is next and why change is happening.

Every child is different so it may take a bit of exploring and trying out new things to see what works for your child.

Andrea Yavasheva, Early Years Programme Officer