Do you need a daily routine for kids that’ll help teach independence? This will help them learn to take charge of their own routine with visual reminders.
I stood in the kitchen slightly shell shocked.
Someone was squawking. Someone was crying. The other two were joining together in some type of off key round of “Mom, mom, mom, mom…”
The older kids were waiting for instruction. They needed my confirmation, a nod, or some other signal from mommy about what was next.
This is what life is with 5 kids under 6 years old.
“Our kids are like mosquitos,” I told my husband. “The swarm around picking at us until we swat them away.”
We shared a good laugh...
Naturally, we love these dadgum kids. They are rowdy and loud and energetic and wonderful. And, of course, they can be completely exhausting. Our days can be filled with endless demands and requests.
Many of these things our children simply can’t do on their own. For example, changing diapers, cooking dinner, or putting themselves in a high chair.
However, many things our kids ask us for that they are perfectly able to do on their own.
And this is where frustration comes in. Basically, we know they’re able to do things on their own. The trouble is, they aren’t able to remember multiple things at once.
Or their order.
So, they do one thing, then they come back to us (or end up running off to play) without finishing all that needs to be done.
The reality is this: kids need a touch point.
Kids Need A Point Of Reference In Their Routines
Children may know how to carry out the 10 things that need doing every morning, but they need a reference point to carry them along the path.
This year, I had another child start Kindergarten. Because of that, there would be 3 school aged children getting ready in the mornings.
I can’t be the touch point for 20 separate tasks.
So to avoid running around reminding the kids of 456 things to do while I, too, had to get ready, we started using our printable routine cards. These routine cards have words and pictures and can be hung up in any order.
Now, my kids now use these printable cards (not me) as their reference point for their morning routines. I actually do not have to nag ONE BIT in the mornings. And, the closest I come is, “Keep working on your list!”
It has truly taken our mornings from chaotic to smooth sailing.
A Daily Routine For Kids Includes The Following:
- Wake time (when it’s okay for kids to come out of their rooms)
- Meal and snack times
- Rest and bedtimes
- Independent play and free play times
A Sample Schedule Might Go Like This
6:30 am – Wake up, read books, play quietly
7:00 am – Breakfast, clean up table area, morning chores
8:00 am – Play independently
9:30 am – Snack (snacking tips for kids here)
12:00 pm – Lunch with family
1:00 pm – Down for nap, if child is going through a sleep regression, still put your toddler down for a rest, they are likely to fall asleep
3:00 pm – Wake up, have snack, play quietly, cuddle time with mom
6:00 pm – Dinner with family
6:45 pm – Wind down, bedtime routine, bath
7:30 pm – Bedtime
Printable (and Editable) Daily Routines for Kids
Research files self-directed checklists (or printable cards hung in order) under the umbrella term “agile development.”
Essentially, this means creating systems and routines that help families meet their ever adapting needs in a way that serves all. Therefore, by having these printable cards hung up in each child’s room – and in our kitchen – they are learning self-direction and independence.
Another big benefit, if I’m being honest, is I don’t have to run around like a chicken with my head cut off.
So, here’s what’s in the printable routine cards:
You can fully customize your child’s reference points each morning and help minimize chaos.
- 40+ routine cards with pictures and images pre-made for you. You can simply print, cut, and hang up.
- 40+ blank cards without the names so you can add in your own words or language.
- 2 editable templates you can use to customize your own routines. Using Mac Pages or Microsoft Word you can create a totally unique set of cards to hang up that fit your family’s needs.
Reference points for routines just plain work.
Step-by-Step Process For Using the Cards
It’s an easy process to get in and get started. You’ll be amazed how quickly the kids catch on.
- First, get the printable routine cards and edit them as you wish. I like to print on cardstock or even photo paper if you have it lying around. I also purchased this inexpensive laminator and laminating sleeves and laminate all the cards so they can be used for multiple children.
- Have your child look at all the routine cards you’re going to hang up. If they don’t read yet, have them guess what they think each cards means based on their routine. Get them familiar with the cards and explain they’re going to use these cards to do things on their own like the Big Kids they are.
- Allow your child to help you choose which order to hang the cards and where, then hang them up! Take a few days before you need the child to use them and carry out the routine with them. Point to each card and then let them tell you what it says. Keep saying “Refer to your cards!” and they’ll get the hang of figuring out what’s next.
- The day you want your child to use their cards, calmly ask them to follow their cards and let you know if they need help. Check in periodically and see how things are going. Don’t get frustrated, simply help them refer to the cards.
Before you know it, they’ll fly through the cards without a word from you!
Ways You Can Use the Printable Daily Routines for Kids
Here’s what one mother had to say about our printable routine cards.
Here are some other ways you can use the printable routine cards in your family based on what readers have done:
- A visual schedule in the preschool classroom (we actually offer a licensed copy for teachers)
- A toddler daily routine chart (the cards have morning, meal time, chore time, and evening routines included)
- A preschooler routine (for your little ones who need to get ready before heading out to preschool)
- A bedtime routine chart for toddlers and preschoolers (bedtime cards are included in the pack)
How To Make The Printable Cards Work For You
Children love to feel independent and competent. As long as you are accessible should any issues arise, children are happy to take care of themselves.
My children pride themselves on being able to follow their routine without any fussing and it makes for a much more peaceful morning.
1. Hang Them Up
The best way to use your printable daily routines for kids is to hang them up. You can use putty, tape, or velcro. You can attach them to a bulletin board or with magnets.
Whatever you do, the best way to make sure they’re accessible for children and easy to use is to have them in an easy to see location.
2. Refer To The Cards
If your child comes back to you as their touch point, simply refer to the cards.
“Oh, you’ve already woken up and used the potty, let’s see what’s next!”
As you continue to reference the printable daily routines your child will get the hang of it. They’ll see that you are a wasted step and will simply refer to the cards themselves. This is the goal. Be sure you are present and in and out as they are getting ready, but refer them back to the cards when needed.
3. Say What You See® And Name A Strength
Observe all your children are doing. In the Language of Listening® framework, you simply Say What You See®. Essentially, you say what you see them doing, then you add a strength to it.
“You put on your shoes all by yourself. You are capable.”
“Hey, you straightened the bed. It is very neat.”
“Look at that, you poured your own cereal, you are independent.”
By praising your child’s efforts they’ll not only feel happy you are paying attention, but they’ll begin to be proud of their own developing independence.
This is the goal, for your child to be able to take care of themselves in a way they are likely to continue.
Stop The Nagging Today
If you want your children to grow in independence and start using something else as their reference point in the mornings, these printable daily routines will help.
As a result of using the cards, not only will your child move faster, but there will be fewer power struggles and more positive attitudes as a result.
It has truly transformed our mornings. It will do the same for yours.