Mornings with a toddler aren’t always sunshine and rainbows. Getting your toddler to follow directions in the rush of a busy morning may cause tears and time outs for everyone. One way to shore up the tantrum tide is to create a routine with a visual checklist for your toddler. Using a picture of each required morning activity, you and your toddler will find that the sunshine and rainbows appear again more often than not.
Children who can’t yet read find images easier to understand. Creating a simple list of morning activities you want your child to complete makes for a stress-free morning. Likely your child’s morning includes brushing teeth, going potty, getting dressed, eating and one or two other daily requirements. Don’t make your activity list too complicated or lengthy, as you want to ease the daily frustration of getting ready and not increase it if your toddler can’t finish in time. Adding an activity or chore that your toddler can complete themselves, such as making the bed or wiping the table, gives them a sense of accomplishment as well as giving you a break.
Making the list into a visual chart is a project you can do with your toddler. Locating clear, understandable pictures, or drawing your own images of the morning activities gets your toddler excited about getting ready in the morning. You don’t need to be Picasso to draw a stick figure eating breakfast. Let your child practice using safety scissors on pictures from magazines or newspapers. Feeling like they were involved in the process of creating their list can increase their enthusiasm in following it.
Get it Together
Your morning checklist will help long past the toddler years. Make your visual checklist something to look forward to every day using crayons, markers, glitter, paints and stickers. Gluing the pictures to colored paper makes them sturdier. If you have a laminator, laminate the images to keep them from being destroyed by your active toddler. Tape or magnets help adhere the images to a larger surface, such as a poster board or the refrigerator. Keep the new list low on the wall or fridge for small people to see it while they work to complete each activity.
Enjoy the peaceful mornings. It may take a little while to adjust to the new routine and following the morning checklist, but having a visual reminder takes some of the burden off of Mom. If your child is extremely excited about the new checklist, you may find they’ve finished everything on the list and are now waiting on you in the morning so they can eat breakfast. You and your toddler will enjoy the new-found freedom with their morning visual checklist.