I sometimes feel like I am playing a game of Tug of War with my 4yo. Sometimes I win and sometimes I loose. But Morning and Bedtime routines is when I feel it the most.
My 4yo likes to be very independent and doesn’t like to be told what to do, as with most 4 year olds I assume. But when it comes to getting ready in the morning and getting ready for bedtime, he has a hard time doing the routine in a timely manner and I find myself (my husband too) reminding him and pestering him over and over to get ready. He usually just fools around and does much of nothing! Sometimes it simply ends up in an argument, or he doesn’t get ready in time for bedtime stories and has a meltdown. I have now started giving him 1 hr before bed to get all the things he needs to do, done. I tell him “bed time is in 1 hour and how you use your time is your choice but you need to be done everything before bedtime”. If he gets done in a timely manner he gets bedtime stories, if he is really fast he even has time to play before story time, if he wastes his time, he ends up just going to bed, maybe catching the last story (I usually read three books). So far, it is working better than before, but could still use improvement as I find myself still reminding him of what he needs to get done.
So I am going to start a new visual aide system that he can look at to see what needs to be done and can do it at his own pace without me pestering him. I am simply trying to avoid getting frustrated with him, pestering/reminding him, and let him choose how to spend his time. I am hoping this cuts down on the fooling around and gives him a sense of ownership. We’ll see…
So here is the system I have come up with and found most of my visual aids here:
I had a hard time finding a floss teeth picture but as it is an important part of our bedtime routine I finally found this image to use and I enlarged it to the same size as the rest of the picture cards.
- Colourful Card stock
- Self Laminating Sheets
- Roll of Magnetic Tape
I choose to use really simple black and white line drawings with words. I then cut them out and glued them to colourful card stock and cut them out once more. I put them in a clear laminate sheet (if you have a laminator that is even easier) and cut them out a third time. Phew…the cutting is the most time-consuming part.
I found these narrow Dry Erase Magnetic White Boards and wrote his name on one and his 3yo brothers name on the other (of course he has to have one too if his big brother gets one). There is a box underneath to keep the cards not in use, this way he can remove the cards from the board, put them in the box as he completes each task and can see what is still left to complete. I am hoping to find a better alternative to the box, something that just hangs underneath on the wall, but for now the box will do.
I used pictures that create the exact routine we do in our home, but there are many pictures to use if your routine is different or if your child needs more instruction for each task. There is an abundance of images out there to choose from to suit everyone’s needs if you just google it or use the link for the images I used.
Here is what our routine looks like:
Morning To Do List: & Bedtime To Do List:
So we begin this routine with the beginning of school as morning routine will need to be a little more strict with needing to catch the school bus in the morning. I hope this helps our morning and bedtime routines. I am not expecting miracles or perfection everyday, but I am hoping to find it helps him be independent and me (my husband too) less frustrated. Even if it helps a little then I know we are moving forward. I will let you know how it goes and keep you updated.
Happy September and enjoy the bustle of back to school time!