Help your child build independence and responsibility with these printable morning and bedtime daily routine charts for kids.
If you’re at home with little ones – and attempting to get into some type of daily schedule, then LET ME APPLAUD YOU.
Now, I gotta say, as a mom of 5 kids in 5 years, I know the importance of having some predictability in our lives. Let’s jump into some ways that a lack of routine manifests itself during our days.
Honestly, I could go on and on but we’ll all get bored because this ain’t no surprise. Routines bring predictability and help both moms and kids have more peaceful and calm days.
why & how to display your routines
Morning and evening routines make the world go round.
You heard it here first, people!
The key for kids to be able to follow a good morning, afternoon, or evening routine is that it is visual and they can follow it on their own.
Sometimes, printables are preferable to written tables or charts because kids can’t follow those as well.
They are quite spreadsheet-y!
- A great way to display your morning or evening routines are on these felt boards.
- Or good old fashioned tape. We’ve taped ours to walls.
- And puttied them to walls.
- And my colleague attaches them to the wall with removable contact paper to stick them.
Get as casual or as fussy as you prefer!
Read: 7 Effective Phrases To Encourage Independence
Motivation – why independent routines matter
The key in having a routine is to help your little one learn to take care of their bodies, responsibilities, chores, and specific daily tasks.
Of course, as their mama, you’ll be right there with them if they need it.
Helping your child learn some independence in their routines will do the following.
- Teach confidence | Kids don’t become confident because we compliment them a lot. In fact, research shows that when we compliment our kids above what they believe about themselves, it actually causes embarrassment. On the other hand, children become confident when they believe in their own abilities.
- Prevent kids acting out from boredom | When kids get bored they get into things. They color walls and other such mischief. The best way to keep kids plugging along happily throughout the day following family rules is to give them something to occupy themselves with.
- Teach delayed gratification and responsibility | No one really likes to do the basic boring humdrum things of life. However, these tasks are the things that make up our days. When kids learn to do things on their own, they are less entitled and set up for success as they navigate a future when they are responsible for their choices.
Little by little, as you help your kids take care of their own responsibilities, routines, and self-care, you’ll find confident happy kids in front of you.
Read: Why Kids Need Independent Play Times Daily – And How To Start
Morning routine printables
The morning routine is so so so important for the tone of the day. You likely have your own mom morning routine that helps you get up and prepared.
Your kids need the same.
When kids are school aged they’ll have school morning routines, but for younger ones at home, they need some direction in the morning. You know, so the morning doesn’t start at 10 a.m. with nobody dressed.
Here are some things to add to your little one’s morning routine
- Wake up time | You can choose a reasonable hour your little one sleeps to, then get a wake up clock, and have your child stay in their room until then.
- Bed making or tidying | Some of my little ones can’t make their beds because of the size, so they will simply tidy it or fold the blankets. Even a little bit of tidying goes a long way and gets them in the habit.
- Getting dressed | You can put up a card for your little one to get dressed
- Brushing teeth & combing hair | Depending on your little one’s age, you can begin to help them learn hygiene and general body maintenance routines. No need to get too detailed about it, but just a step in having kids who can independently get themselves ready for school later.
- Eating breakfast | Now, you may not think this needs to go on a card because hunger calls! However, your little one will love
Afternoon routine charts
In the afternoon, your little one may have the following that you can put into their afternoon routine.
- getting up from nap
- snack time (good snacking rules here)
- independent play
- chores (101+ printable chore cards here)
- outdoor play
- free play
Of course, there may be other things. You may end up going on errands in the afternoon with your little one or visiting friends.
Printable bedtime routine chart
Now, we all know that the bedtime routine can get hair for many families.
Bedtime battles happen.
Moms are so utterly exhausted by bedtime that they are like JUST GO TO BED, PLEASE, LET ME HAVE SOME ALONE TIME.
Honestly, this is what happens all over the world around 7 p.m. Don’t fight it. Use that tiredness to your own advantage. Streamline and autopilot this bedtime routine so that everyone gets the rest they need.
Here are some things that can go in the bedtime routine chart
- Bathing or showering
- Brushing teeth
- Getting on pajamas
- Reading books together
- Cleaning up toys on the bedroom floor
- Singing songs together
You can add in here whatever you like, but hopefully that’ll get you going.
WHERE to put your visual morning & bedtime routine charts
Your bedtime routine chart should typically be in the sleeping area where your child will be. It may be okay in the bathroom or common area if you do any reading there, like a play or bonus room.
The key is to make sure that the routine chart is visible, easily accessible, and not out of the way. If it’s out of the way, you simply won’t refer to it.
- Bedroom walls for the morning and bedtime routines
- Bathroom walls for the self-care and hygiene routines
- Hallways for the routines where your child will pass by this wall
- Kitchens (for the snack and meal time routines)
- Play areas, bonus rooms, play rooms, etc. for the play time routines
Things to keep in mind when using visual routines with kids
When you want to begin teaching independence in routines to your little ones, there are a few things to consider so the whole thing isn’t an exercise in frustration.
Ask me how I know.
- Keep the cards at eye level for your child.
- Show your child the cards and ask them what they think they mean. Let them see and touch them. It’ll stop them from wanting to pull them down later.
- Hang the routine cards up together so your child child can help pick placement. If they can’t see them easily, they won’t refer to them!
- Practice a run through with your child to get their wheels turning about how it’ll work in actual practice.
I hope these help you to fine tune your daily routines so your mornings, afternoons, and evenings are more peaceful.
Grab your own printable routine cards here.
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You add in all the things that *must* happen, and then you fill in the rest of the time with the extras. So, you’ll add in when they must get up, eat meals, go to sleep, school, etc. and then build a routine around all the things that need to happen in a good, easy to follow, order.
First, you decide the time your child needs to get to bed. Then you start around 30 to 45 minutes earlier (depending on your child’s age) and you add in the things that will help them wind down, get calm, and drift off to sleep. Then, you display the routine, and you enforce it.
There’s a few reasons. If toddlers are overtired, overstimulated, or ruling the roost, they will resist bedtime. Conversely, if they have napped until 5 p.m. they won’t want to go to bed at 7:30 p.m. A child’s resistance to bedtime shouldn’t stop you from putting your toddler to bed at a proper time that prevents overtiredness and grumpiness the next day.
One way to make your toddler more cooperative in the morning is an established routine they can follow. When they know what to do, what’s expected of them, and have visual display of these things (like these routine cards) they’ll be more cooperative.
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