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We Tried It! – Routine Charts

We’ve been struggling a bit with typical 3 year old power struggles around here lately.  I’ve been wracking my brain (and my parenting library) for possible solutions. And then it hit me.  Close examination of the problem revealed that these blow ups aren’t coming out of nowhere as they initially appeared.  They are, in fact, almost always centered on one thing – transitions.


My boy HATES transitions – most specifically leaving the house and going to bed.  No matter how smoothly we seem to be going down the road, he always throws on the brakes when he sees either of these two things on the horizon.  In response to this new found knowledge, I’ve formulated a plan: to build very specific and consistent routines around these times of transition.

Click through for the goods on exactly how I did it…

Along the same time I had this epiphany, I also spotted some fantastic routine charts over at I heart organizing.  Let me just say before I go any further, this isn’t a reward chart per-SE, but that’s how I intend to use it.  And let me also say that pre-toddlerhood I never thought I’d use anything of the sort.  I was all up there on my high horse thinking, “Reward charts? Pfft! We’re gonna be all about intrinsic rewards at our house”.  Oh how the mighty have fallen. (Or in this case, the woefully over-confident.)


Fast forward to today and I can’t get these suckers printed out fast enough.  Especially considering their uber cool design.  I really love the graphic elements and color scheme – definitely fridge worthy.  Which is good because that’s exactly where these guys are going.


Before printing, I did do a little Photoshoping to make them better suited to our needs.  Specifically, I altered the order of the morning routine (putting teeth brushing after breakfast) and swapped out the drink of water for face washing (complete with a photo of C’s mug) in the bedtime routine.  I also used parts of the bedtime routine to create a naptime routine.


Since these aren’t my printables, I wouldn’t feel right giving you my modified copies but it wasn’t hard to do.  And if you don’t have access to Photoshop, you could always physically cut up the sheets, rearrange as needed, and glue them to some pretty backing paper.


Once all three lists were printed, I ran them through my spiffy new laminator.


The routine that corresponds to the time of day resides on the front of the fridge.  A smiley face is added for each drama-free completed step using a dry-erase marker.  A page full of smiley faces = a reward.  This is day one so we’ll probably experiment a bit but right now his reward is to pick an activity: an art project, playing in the snow, watching a TV show, playing a game, etc.


The other pages wait on the side of the fridge until they’re needed.  What do you think?  Is this going to work?  Has it worked with your kids?  I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below.


P.S. for more free printable goodies, check out my roundup of Free Printables for a Stellar 2012.

UPDATE: So far so good – we had success at both naptime and bedtime using these today.  Also, I realized that it doesn’t bother C to jump around as long as he gets to check things off as he goes.  For example, pajamas should probably be after “go potty” in our bedtime routine but we just do smiley face eyes for getting undressed, a smiley face for the potty, and then the smiley face mouth for putting on PJs.


P.S. Looking for more ways to simplify and save time? Follow these 3 steps:

1) Check out our Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life 2016 Printables and our Kids' Responsibility & Money Management Kit : over 50 pages of 2015 daily/weekly/monthly planners, cleaning schedules, meal planners, kids’ routine charts, budgeting sheets and much more!

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