Let Kids Get Themselves Ready with These Simple Morning Routine Charts

Family Matters on 08.16.12
Contributor bio | twitter

Photo: Amy Suardi/Frugal Mama

"Did you brush your teeth?"
"Did you clean up your room?"
"Did you pack your backpack?"

If the answer that you get to these questions is always, "Oh, YEAH!" -- then I know how you feel.

To avoid reminding my four-year-old over and over all the things he needs to do to be ready for summer camp and pre-K this fall, I finally sat down and made him a checklist.

Since Mark is the third child I've shepherded towards getting ready without constant barking from the top dog, I've learned what works and what doesn't. In teaching kids to be responsible for themselves, I've found three elements to be essential:  

Sometimes we parents get intimidated by the idea of creating systems and charts. They do take some time, and often ready-made tools don't reflect our family's unique routines. But here are three that might help:

1.  Morning Routine Cards to Display Like Art

Morning Routine Printable
Photo: Living Locurto

I love how these reminders look more like something you'd find on Etsy than to-do list items. Designer Amy Locurto, who offers loads of free printables on her site, created these cards for her own son. She also made them in pink and green, and both are available as free downloads on her site, Living Locurto.

2.  Get-Ready-for-School Checklist for Preschoolers

Get Ready for school checklist for preschoolers
Photo: Amy Suardi/Frugal Mama

It may not be pretty, but it was easy. I created this checklist for my four-year-old in about 45 minutes. The best part about this kind of chart, created with clip art and word-processing software, is that you can download it and customize it to your family's needs.

Mark was so thrilled to have his own chart, he didn't even balk when I added number 6: "straighten up the playroom."

3.  Make Your Own Poster with Print-and-Paste Images

morning routine images
Photo: Holly Korus/BaristaKids

These adorable drawings by Holly Korus can be cut out and arranged according to your family's needs. Paste them to a piece of paper or cardstock -- you decide whether to add your own numbers and words. Download from BaristaKids.

I like that Holly's images could also be used for a get-ready-for-bed chart. We all could use one of those!

Top Articles on Teaching Responsibility
Why My Elementary-Age Kids Help Me Clean the House
5 Ways to Unspoil Your Child Now
15 Ways to Get Kids to Help Around the House