Friday, June 28, 2013

Morning Routine, A Visual Checklist

I saw this idea on the blog, Play at Home Mom.  She made a simple table with clip art pictures representing each step in the bed time routine.  As soon as I saw this concept I went right to work making one for our home.  I knew this would be helpful for both me and the boys.  So far, it has been a great tool for forgoing any battles over the bedtime routine because, well, it says it on the list, so we have to do it.  It's not Mommy saying so.  It has also really made them feel independent, empowered and accomplished.  I can see it in their face.  Seems crazy for them to feel all those emotions from a checklist, right?  But I promise you, it's true.

Two nights ago we asked Lachlan to get ready for bed.  He went down the hall, referred to the visual checklist and did every single thing all by himself, including getting his pajamas on.  He was beaming!

Since bedtime worked so well, I thought next would be the morning routine.  Every time I get my kids dressed they ask "where are we going?"  It seems there have been many times we didn't get dressed unless we were going somewhere.  My response has been, no where, we are just getting ready for the day.  Instead of saying, "it's time to get dressed" I can say, "it's time to start our morning routine." Again I can refer to the checklist, and what it says.  On our morning routine it first shows a picture of the sun, after all, we really don't want the day to start until after the sun comes up, but that varies depending on the time of year.  If your child reads numbers and is beginning to understand time you could put an actual time on the list or a picture of a clock.  Next is a picture of a toilet for potty time, then eating breakfast, getting dressed, brushing teeth and last, Mother Goose Time.  I saved the little profile picture for MGT's Facebook page and put it on the list.

My hope with the morning routine, was for one, not to accidentally skip the morning teeth brushing, but also to get a routine that works us right into Mother Goose Time.  So of course, it had to be on the list.  Even on weekends we can do the weather and calendar piece if we want to follow the checklist to a T.

Our visual checklist is on a clipboard hung in the hallway just outside the bathroom.  I printed and laminated our visual checklist.  No it is not the most adorable wall art, but I really focus on function over form more often then not.  I have it really low, right at their height.  In the bathroom drawer I keep a wet erase marker.  I actually let the boys check each section off on their own, most of the time that is.  It just depends on the mood that day.

Here I am starting the routine by asking Lachlan what we need to do next.  We had already eaten breakfast, so things were a little out of order.  But it really doesn't matter, as long as all things are checked off when we are done. 

We had already eaten breakfast and the sun was up, check, check.  Next was potty time.  This has been so great for Peter who is getting closer and closer to being potty trained.  He can go in the potty no problem, but sometimes fights me because we haven't gotten it as part of a routine.  Now that it's on the list and we are all doing it together, he is pumped to go sit on the potty.  Now we are back to the list to see what comes next.  It looks like we need to get dressed. 

As you can see, it is just a brilliant idea.  Thank you to Play at Home Mom for sharing.  She even uses this system to give her kids a little more independence when packing for a getaway.  She prints out a visual checklist of things to pack.  Just simply take pictures of a pair of their pants and other clothing items.  Then put a number next to each item.  Pack 5 pairs of pants and so on.  She actually has a free printable you can download.  I made my own because our routine is slightly different then hers, I also wanted our checklist to be vertical so that I could hang it on the wall.  Her list is horizontal so they can hold the clipboard in their hand or set it on the counter.

I don't know how to attach a PDF file for you guys to see or to download.  If I can figure that out I will.  Until then, if it would help you out to have the file, send me an email and I will send you a copy.  My email address is dandelioninherhair at yahoo dot com. 

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