Each night without a bedtime routine chart would go something like this…
I’d say put your pajamas on and my son would get distracted and start playing with toys.
A second time I’d say put your pajamas on and my son would run in the other direction.
The 15th time I said put your pajamas on things started to escalate. At this point, let’s be real, I’m literally wrestling the pajamas on him.
Don’t even get me started on the teeth brushing.
And by the time the whole bedtime routine is finished, I’m a triggered, exhausted and frustrated parent and not exactly showing up the way I want as a mom.
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That’s what makes this bedtime routine chart different.
1. It takes you out of the role of managing your child’s behavior and empowers kids to manage their own behavior. Genius!
2. They are printable routine cards, which means you can put the routine in any specific order you fancy. My personal recommendation is to allow your child to help choose steps in the routine and help choose the order of the routine. Kids are A LOT more motivated to use a bedtime routine chart when they helped to make it. There’s a sense of pride the child feels.
3. You can print it over and over again to make new routines as your child’s needs change.
4. It’s editable and comes with a customizable morning routine chart and customizable chore routine chart.
5. It’s not a reward chart. We don’t use stickers or checks everyday to have our kids work up to a reward since the research is clear that they don’t work long term. Studies show that offering children tangible rewards in exchange for caring behavior may diminish future helpful behavior and can erode children’s innate tendency to help others.
6. It’s a great addition to any after school or school night routine.
How to motivate your child to follow a bedtime routine chart.
First, my favorite way to address any toddler bedtime routine battles — or any issues for that matter — is to Say the Unsaid to your child, and it usually sounds something like this…
You want to have fun at bedtime and play. To you, going to sleep isn’t any fun. Brushing your teeth, putting on pajamas, or taking a bath – you don’t like any of that. Hmmm…it really seems like you want to make more decisions about bedtime AND HAVE FUN. You’d probably really like it if I wasn’t reminding you all the time because you know the rules!
You can say whatever you think your child is thinking, feeling, doing or saying. This helps connect with kids — and while you might not agree with their bedtime strategy, you can see their perspective — and this helps kids open up to your guidance.
Now, you can present the idea of the bedtime routine chart as a possible solution. Here’s the kicker: Kids are actually excited at this point!
1. Allow your child to help you print and cut the routine chart.
Parents often think this takes a lot of time, and I can tell you firsthand that this takes all of 10 minutes. Plus, by involving kids they are a lot more willing to participate in the actual routine part.
If you use a regular scissors it takes longer, but if you use this awesome cutting device, I promise, it will be done in about 5 minutes. My kids use it all the time, and they love it.
2. Decide if you want them on a ring or hung on the wall.
You can either put the bedtime routine on a ring and your child can go through all the steps and carry it around. OR you can hang them on the wall in a specific order and the child will follow the wall chart each evening.
3. Encourage your child to follow the routine using phrases like “Show me” or “Tell me.”
This bedtime routine chart won’t keep you from having to remind the kids every now and then. But when the kids do get off track, it’s easy to re-focus them using a few key phrases like, “Looks like you got off track. Show me the next step in your routine.”
When the child comes back to show you, you can say something like, “Oh, you knew exactly where you were in the routine. You didn’t forget at all. Must be some way you can have fun and keep moving along.”
This routine card pack also includes a morning routine chart and chore routine chart to help kids stay focused. Everything is editable, which means you can customize all of it.
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”Ben Franklin
You’ll no longer need to wrestle the pajamas on him, yell during teeth brushing or feel completely exhausted by the time the kids are done with their routine. Visual routines...they’re magical.
Print this free printable!
This post comes with a free printable to give you an easy step-by-step guide to raise independent kids. Plus, remember what independent skills are age-appropriate for your kids!
Here’s a sneak peek…
Download Your Free Printable
- Download the checklist. You’ll get the printable, plus join my weekly parenting newsletter!
- Print. Any paper will do the trick, but card stock would be ideal.
- Place it on your refrigerator. Use it as a quick reference to keep parenting simple!
Want more on parenting?
- 2 Year Old Sleep Regression Explained! Why It Happens and How to Fix It
- 50+ Outdoor Toys for Kids That’ll Keep Kids Busy and Wear Them Out
- The Real Reason Kids Never Want to Go to Sleep – How to Handle Bedtime Tantrums
- 2 Year Old Sleep Schedule That Helps Everyone Get More Sleep
- More 1 Year Old Sleep Schedules From Parents
- 4 Year Old Not Listening? How to Ditch Defiance and Nurture Cooperation
I've created a free email series just for you! If you are struggling with finding a routine, rhythm or schedule, this email series will help you find one that will work for YOUR family. Yes, really. I've seen my sample routines work time and time again for parents. I know it can work for you too.
This free email series will help you:
- Free sample routines for your child
- Best morning routine tips and tricks your kids will actually follow
- All-time favorite parenting hacks for getting more cooperation at bedtime
- Step-by-step guide for using a printable daily schedule with kids
I love this! Excited to try it out. I want to order the Montessori boards but I have a question…how do they stick to it?
I was wondering the same thing! Magnets? Sticky velcro dots?
Also — Lauren, the link to the cutting device doesn’t work anymore, so I am curious about what that is!
But I bought and customized our own cards and used the night routine yesterday and it was AMAZING. I introduced the cards at lunchtime before nap and they were *so* excited about them, especially my one little guy who seems to have a nearly photographic memory. When I brought them out again before dinner to start the routine of cleaning up toys, he remembered almost every card and didn’t fight any of the steps, and my other twin was into them too (and he’s the one whose sleep has really regressed while potty training). We made the routine cards primarily for him, but I think it’s already great for both of them and we are eventually going to make ones for the morning and chores.
How do you do chores in your house? Daily or on weekends? And what age would you recommend introducing chore cards?
Visual routines…they’re magical.