Inside: Want some sample routines for babies and toddlers? Here’s are all my sample routines and schedules.
I’ve always been a creature of habit. Growing up, I liked to try 234 ways to do things and – when I found something that worked – stuck with it religiously. In college, every day for nearly 3 years, I ate the same lunch.
Diet Coke and a small pack of combos.
What can I say? I’m a health nut. ????
When it came time to parent my little babies, I knew routine was the way to go. After all, there is no research that says routine is bad for kids, and all research says it is.
This worked for babies
With babies, well, this was fine. They ate and slept predictably and life was easy. I’ve had 5 easy babies – mainly due to a good routine. We used the same newborn routine and it helped me survive the newborn phase. The baby didn’t put up a fight so all was golden.
Then the babies grew up.
The babies became toddlers.
The toddlers wanted their own way.
Family Routines Reboot
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The Dreaded Bedtime Battles
Even though it routine was good for my toddlers, they started fighting it. Fighting all the elements of bedtime.
“No brush teef!”
“Not 1 book, 5 books!”
With a few kids to look after, this bedtime struggle was exhausting. It was discouraging, and it made the atmosphere at bedtime tense, stressful, and negative instead of a nice time of bonding. Sure, we did the normal wind-down routines, but something was missing. What was missing?
The toddlers being able to own the routine themselves.
The goal, for me, was to get buy in from my little ones so they cooperated with me on our daily routines instead of fighting them. How did I do that?
Daily Routine Brainstorm SHEETS
Get my cheat sheets (newborn up to elementary aged kids) and find your family’s groove. Use them for nap times, meal times, bedtimes, chore times, play times AND more!
A Set of Printable Routine Cards
They’re are exactly what I needed—brightly-colored, fun and functional.
And since they are printable, I can re-print a new set any time I want. I can also use the same printable pack to create a unique, separate routine for all my kids.
Want your kids to learn to independently follow their routines? These visual routine cards do the trick.Learn More
Getting started with printable routine cards.
You can introduce these a number of ways. You can print them, let them help cut (with toddler scissors), and choose the order and hang them up together. This will help increase Buy In. However, you don’t have to do this, you can just bring the cards out on the day you’re ready to stop the power battles.
On the day you get started simply mention,
“You are going to learn how to get yourself ready for bed this evening!”
Or if there is another routine you are working on, exchange “in the morning” with “at dinner time” or “at playtime” or “at naptime.”
Then focus on the routine for a while as you help teach your child to recognize the symbols, understand the order, and learn to direct themselves through the routine.
You’ll be surprised how much your child enjoys the independence of recognizing and following through the routine on their own.
Putting the routine into practice.
When I first printed of the cards, my daughter was excited to help with the project. She chose where to hang them in her room, and said she was excited to use them the next day.
I went into more detail saying, “These are the cards you will use to help you through your morning routine.”
We talked about what each card meant and where it fit into the routines. The order isn’t all that important, but if you choose an order be willing to keep it because my daughter was serious about following them to a tee.
When it came time to use the cards…
How It Went
After I printed the cards, the next morning I went into my daughter’s room. Where was she?
Sitting up on the bed staring at the cards…
She said, “I’ve done the first two, now let’s get dressed!”
One-by-one, we went through each card on the routine until we were finished with the morning routine. This was day one and there was a lot of coaching, but this was expected.
We Carried On
Each day we tried again and again, going through the routine. When she stalled or didn’t want to do what the cards said, I Encouraged Encouraged Encouraged.
I praised her independence, her cooperation, and whatever else I could think of to praise. She began to go to the routine cards on her own and follow them fairly independently. Of course, some mornings she didn’t want to get ready at all.
I can relate!
On the whole, she followed the cards until she had memorized what to do without much coaching. If she needed reminding, of course, I did that too.
It meant that I didn’t have to babysit her throughout her entire morning routine when the tasks were ones she could do on her own.
Sure, she needed assistance and reminding from time to time, but this was a way to teach her independence without the constant nagging. When I was tempted to nag, I referred to the cards, not to constant verbal reminders.
The printable routine cards are an amazing tool that any parent can use. Now, getting all 5 kids to follow the cards without any reminders… that’d be a miracle. One I can pray for!