a diy Routine chart that will truly help your kids
This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Please read my disclosure for more info.
Are mornings absolute insanity for you like they are for me and my hubs? The struggle is real when it comes to getting the kids and ourselves out the door for school, daycare, and work and getting us all there on time.
I feel like we’re constantly reminding our 5 year old to finish his breakfast, get dressed, get shoes on… it’s never ending. And he moves sooooooo slow!
Mornings are hectic to say the least. Bedtime is similar, but not as stressful since there’s not so much of a time crunch. Nonetheless, it’s still a reminding game with our 5 year old. “Bath! PJs! Don’t forget to brush your teeth!”
So if you are in the same boat as me, I have to share the idea of a routine chart with you! I stumbled upon this idea in my Pinterest feed and thought I’d actually give it a try (unlike all the other hundreds of DIY pins I save and do absolutely nothing with).
This is really simple to do and helps maintain structure at home. It took me about 15 minutes to prep. My kids did the gluing and that took them about 5 minutes. So all in all, 20 minutes of my time.
Just a note: I am NOT crafty at all. So excuse my less than perfect handwriting and crooked lines.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Card stock
- Magnetic sticky squares
- Sharpie or markers
- Glue Stick
- Corner Rounder (this is completely optional. I used it for the AM Routine cards, but not the PM cards and it doesn’t really make a difference in my opinion)
1. Think about which routines you want to do this for (morning, afternoon, bedtime) and the major steps you want your child to complete in each routine.
I chose morning and bedtime routines. Here are the steps I included for each.
- Wake Up (I know that seems silly to include, but it gives your kid a quick win in the morning and gets them going for the next step in the routine)
- Eat Breakfast
- Brush Teeth
- Get Dressed
- Put PJs in Hamper
- Put Lunch in Backpack
- Leave for School
- Take a Bath or Shower
- Put PJs on
- Clean Room
- Pick Out Clothes for Tomorrow
- Bedtime Snack
- Brush Teeth
Just a tip: I didn’t include quiet time, reading a book, or going to sleep on the bedtime routine chart, but you may want to. In fact, I may re-do this chart to include these things because my son was so into the routine chart that after he brushed his teeth, he was like “Now what?”. And I had a hard time getting him to settle down and get into bed!
2. You can either draw your images for each task or print them out.
I’m no artist and I’m really impatient with this kind of stuff, so I printed my images. Plus, if you print them, you can have your child glue them onto the chart later and they’re more likely to buy into the routine chart if they helped create it.
I pulled my images from Google and the online picture library in MS Word. I tried to make sure they were colorful and fun.
3. Cut your images out (or have your child do this) and get all your supplies together.
4. Take a piece of cardstock and place it in landscape position. Then take the bottom and fold it up just enough that there is about an inch left at the top. This is where you can write something like “[Your Child’s Name]’s Morning Routine”.
5. Unfold the card stock and measure out rectangles for the routine tasks. My cardstock was 8.5×11 inches and I had 6 tasks for one chart, and 7 tasks for the second chart. Each rectangle was about 1 3/4 inch wide for the 6 tasks, and about 1 1/2 inches wide for the 7 tasks.
6. Cut at each measurement point from the bottom up to the crease to create flaps that can be flipped up and down.
7. This step is optional, but at this point you can take your corner rounder and round out the corners of the flaps.
8. Take a magnet square and stick it at the bottom of each flap.
9. Take another magnet square and place it on top of the magnet squares you just laid down. The sticky side of the magnet should be facing up. Fold up the flaps and press down so that the second magnet sticks to the top of the chart.
9. Take a sharpie or a marker and write out the task on each flap.
10. Flip each flap up and write “Done!” on the back.
11. Grab your kiddo, the glue stick, and the pictures. Have your child glue each picture above a flap in the order the tasks should be completed.
I can’t recommend enough having your child do this piece of the activity and talking through each step with them as they glue it. This really got my kids to buy into the charts and got them excited to start using them!
12. Show your child how to use the chart and let them practice a few times.
And that’s it – you’re done! Let the charts work their magic.
Tips for Success with Your Routine Chart
Here are some tips I learned along the way that will help the implementation of new routines go more smoothly with your kids and to help you and your family reap the most benefits from them.
1. For bedtime routines, try to keep the same bedtime everyday, on weeknights and weekends. This article gives great information about the kids and their circadian rhythms (natural wake/sleep cycle).
2. Use a timer and set if for each task. Visual timers work great for kiddos who can’t tell time yet. By doing this, you’ll help your child keep moving along the routine without taking an insane amount of time to brush her teeth or get his pajamas on.
3. Good habits stick when you do them regularly and consistently. So when you pick a new routine for your kids, keep with it. Make the routine simple and don’t add too many new steps. Adding too many changes will feel overwhelming and make you and your child less likely to stick to it.
4. Include whatever routine steps your child needs the most help with remembering or getting motivated to do. Some ideas include bath time, meal times, naps, chores, and homework.
5. Even though maintaining consistency and regularity with your child’s routines is super important, don’t be so rigid that you pass up golden opportunities to make fun memories. For example, if there’s a festival in town, you might want to skip the bedtime routine. Or if there’s a cool animal in your backyard, skip having your child put their dish in the sink so that they can check it out before it’s gone.
Let me know what you include on your routine chart, how it turns out, and how it works for you! Comment below!