Create a Toddler Routine Chart

(Guest post written by Kami Fasan of Full Moon Mothering)

Most moms often feel like they are playing a constant game of catch up; add a toddler or two to the mix and arriving anywhere on time becomes a thing of the past! Claire is currently going through a very independent phase, and while I do want to encourage it….sometimes I just wish she would get dressed so we can get out the door! I recently decided to start trying to teach her about the importance of doing things on time, so we can get to places on time. Now if you have ever tried to teach a toddler a sense of “time” you will have realized (like I did) that its like trying to grab a fist full of water. Good luck with that.

I recently attended a Positive Discipline Workshop as taught by Sarah Joseph of Prenatal to Parenting, and one of the simplest things I learned is that toddlers DO NOT have a sense of time. How can they? For them life is a series of moments, interactions, activities….not governed by the hands on clock. Around the time of this workshop Claire was in her first ballet class series, and one morning she just would not get ready. So I left her clothes beside her and told her when she was ready to get dressed, I was there to help her, but if she didn’t get dressed soon we would not make it to ballet class. Not wanting to fight with her I went to go finish my coffee in peace and take a few deep breaths. Well it worked great in that we both calmed down without getting into a battle of wills, but of course we didn’t make it to ballet on time.

So with a clear day ahead of us we went to Michaels and I bought some poster board and a big book of stickers with the theme of “my day”. When Claire was in bed that night I created our very first Routine Chart. A routine chart is an interactive way to help gently guide your child through the activities of the day, helping provide them with a rough sense of time and what to expect. A child who knows what comes next is less likely to rebel against it.


Our chart is highly visual, with a dark background so the colors are in contrast and really stand out for Claire. It walks her through waking up, getting dressed, having breakfast, our activity for the day, quite time…all the way to bath and bed. She gets to close each one as we complete it. Seeing the progression of closed flaps with less and less remaining to do is what provides her with a sense of time, and accomplishment! It has made our days much easier, and it universally translates so easily to all her care providers; so Daddy gets it and even the babysitter gets it.

How would a routine chart for your toddler look? What activities would you put on it? How could it help make your day easier?

Need ideas on how to make one, try Pinterest!

November 18th, 2013 · No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *