14 strategies parents need to know
7. Establish Routine Charts
The more children do for themselves, the more capable and encouraged they feel. One of the best ways to avoid bedtime hassles and morning hassles is to get children involved in creating routine charts. Start by having your child make a list of all the things she needs to do before going to bed. The list might include: pick up toys, snack, bath, jammies, brush teeth, choose clothes for the next morning, bedtime story and hugs. Copy (or when children are old enough let them copy) all the items onto a chart. Then hang the chart on a wall where she can reach it. Let the routine chart be the boss. Instead of telling your child what to do, ask, "What is next on your routine chart?" Often, she will tell you without your asking.
Remember, the goal is to help children feel capable and encouraged. A nice fringe benefit is that you will be able to stop nagging and will experience more peaceful bedtimes and mornings.
A Story from Kavita: Aruna, an only child, was always around grown-ups, so she thought she was all grown up, too. When it was time to get ready for bed, she always insisted on staying up like Mom and Dad. The six-year-old would hold on to the sofa and scream until she got her way. As a result, she had difficulty waking up in the morning for school and sometimes even fell asleep at her desk. All this left her moody and irritable.
One day Mom read about routine charts, and their wonderful potential to make children happier and healthier. When Aruna came home from school the next day, Mom had big white paper with color pens, glitter and cut outs all over the kitchen table. Of course, Aruna wanted to help! Before long, to her own amazement, she had created a fun-looking bedtime chart! She couldn't wait to start putting the gold stars in the squares.
Mom told her that when the small hand on the clock reached the 8, she could start following the chart. It was so much fun that she actually looked forward to getting ready for bed. By the time the newness wore out and she was no longer impressed by the chart, she had developed a strong routine and bedtime was no longer a hassle.
Like Aruna in the story, Jayendra loves his routine chart. Completing it each day makes him feel competent and independent.