Friday, September 12, 2014

Creating a Routine That Works for My Toddler (With Free Printable!)

(This post contains affiliate links for your convenience)
I think I'm finally ready to embrace fall. Next week, we begin our "school year" activities - I'm excited to start Ladies' Bible Study and MOPs!

Last year I had a hard time getting Kiddo to cooperate when I was trying to head out the door, so at the the end of last year I made a plan. I would set a specific routine to help our mornings run more smoothly, and I would find a way to get Kiddo involved and invested in our schedule.

The inspiration for this project came from my teaching days. In my fifth grade classroom, I put up magnetic subject tiles on the chalk board so my students could see our schedule at a glance. On days when we had assemblies or other activities that changed the normal schedule, this was particularly helpful.

Not every strategy translates well from classroom to home, but I was sure this one would. Since Kiddo is just about to turn three and is not reading yet, I used some great clip-art from My Cute Graphics (which is a fabulous resource for adorable kids' clip art).  And being the teacher I am, I also included written descriptions.

I love the way these turned out! Once I printed and cut the cards, I protected them using my personal laminator (similar to this one) and attached velcro to the back. My first plan was to attach the schedule cards to a framed piece of felt, but the velcro destroyed the felt over time. That's when I decided on a microfiber dish mat (similar to this one) at the Dollar Store, and it's been working really well. Eventually I would like put it in a frame, but I haven't found one for the right price yet. In the meantime, these magnet clips are working just fine.

What I Included:

  • Everyday Routines: This includes meals, nap, brushing teeth, etc.
  • At-Home Activities: Play activities like coloring, play dough, outside time, going for a walk, baking, etc.
  • Away-From Home Activities: Grocery Shopping, MOPs Bible Study, Church, the park, etc.
  • Chores: I honestly did this to encourage me to accomplish my daily chores. Kiddo likes to help, so it gives me extra motivation to do laundry, sweep, dust, vacuum, thoroughly wipe down the kitchen, and clean the bathrooms

Our New Routine:

We've been using this routine for a few months and it's going fairly well.
  • Wake up (We will probably add making the bed soon.)
  • Eat Breakfast
  • Dishes in the sink
  • Sweep the floor under the table
  • Get Dressed 
  • Brush Teeth
  • Put Laundry in Washer (if a laundry day)
  • Screen Time (Only if he gets his "jobs" done right away)

I like having the screen time in the morning to peacefully clean up after breakfast, get dressed (if I haven't already), and check e-mail/social media.

After these routines are complete, the tasks of the day vary. If we're heading somewhere, Kiddo gets his shoes on and we head out the door as soon as his show is over, and he eats a quick snack in the car (a motivation/bribe to get him moving). On the days we are at home our schedule looks pretty full. After screen time is snack at the kitchen table, then typically chores, followed by some play time outside until lunch if the weather is nice.

How It's Working:

We still have tantrums and rough mornings, but things are running more smoothly now that Kiddo knows what our schedule will be. Sometimes he resists doing his morning jobs, but he knows if the timer goes off and they aren't done, he doesn't get his screen time. I'm excited to see how things work once Bible Study and MOPs start next week!

Free Printable!

 To download the free printable (2 pages), click HERE.

Tell Me:

How do you get your little ones out the door and to appointments on time?


  1. Love this idea and the printable! Pinning!

    1. It's working so far. :) Thanks so much for stopping by, Susen!

  2. Great idea with the printable for the little ones. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

  3. This is a great way to begin teaching toddlers responsibility and giving them something productive to do! Thanks for the idea, I'll be pinning this to my Toddler Activities pin board!

    1. Thank you so much for the comment love, and for pinning! :)

  4. Could you add toilet (bathroom), bath tub, bedtime, lunch, supper, snack, arts/crafts, etc. I like how yours turned out, and would like them to all look similar. Thanks!!

  5. I loved these and printed and cut them... But realized there is not a snack, supper, or bedtime box... Is there a way that I can edit what you have, or can you add other topics? I want them to match.


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