Daily Routines and Language Development

Daily routines provide a good opportunity to help your toddler learn new words.  Mealtimes and bath-times give you a chance to reinforce some new words without even thinking about it!  Choose some Prompt Words that you will use every time – this helps your toddler learn through repetition.

Some days you will have more success than others!  Depending on your toddler’s level of fatigue, behaviour, time constraints etc – these all have an impact on the ability to learn new words.  But as often as you can, try to use these natural routines to help your toddler learn and use these common words.

1.  Bath-time

bath time wordsLet your toddler know it is bath-time and help him get undressed.

Prompt Words – off,  shirt off,  nappy.

During the bath, you can use the words ‘wet’ and ‘wash’ many times to show your toddler what these mean.  Go through the body parts too – ‘wash your feet’   ‘dry your tummy’. Praise him if he copies you!


2.  Mealtime

Meals are a great time to talk about different foods and to help your toddler request things.  Help your toddler to repeat some new words ‘toast’  ‘hot’  ‘yummy’.  Name things as you put them on the table.

Sometimes, give your toddler a choice of foods –  egg or carrot?  This helps your child to ask for things in a meaningful way, rather than just copying your words.

Prompt Words –  banana, all gone,  more,  drink,  hot.


3.  Reading Books


Story-time is a routine which will result in long term benefits for your child.  Not only is it a lovely activity you can both enjoy, it is a rich language activity with lots of vocabulary extension.  It also begins your child’s journey into literacy.  Reading books introduces your child to letters and written words and the concepts of beginning and end.

Don’t just leave your story-time to bedtime when your child is tired.  Remember to read books during the day too!  Let your child choose a book and show you what he finds interesting to talk about.

Prompt Words – book, again, finished, my turn.


4.  Nappy Changes

Nappy changes and toilet training are another excellent opportunity for repeating the same words during the day.  Choose a few words you are going to prompt your child and use these many times.  Sometimes, pause before you use the word, to see if your child wants to say it first!  Praise him for any attempts!

Prompt Words – nappy, poo, wipes, pants on.


5.  Cars, Trikes, Prams

During the course of the day, most toddlers will go in a pram or on a scooter /car/ trike.  This is an activity in which often a little bit of help is needed in order to get in/on the pram.  This is a great way to Pause and see if your child can tell you what he wants (eg ‘up’ to be put in the pram  or ‘in’ to be popped in the car).

Prompt Words – in, up,  push car,  out of pram,  take off.