Smooth Mornings

I grew weary of asking my 6 year old, “Did you brush your teeth?” every morning.  I grew even wearier of battling with the 4 year old to do each one of her morning tasks (go potty, get dressed, etc.).  So I was looking for a new system.  I found some great things on line and in catalogs, but nothing for under $20.  Per kid.  Twenty dollars. Well, I have 3 kids so I decided to design my own Morning Routine Posters.

I recently attended a workshop with Sue Patrick, of Workbox System fame.  I found Sue’s devotion to laminating machines and velcro dots to be, well, inspiring.  I had recently acquired my own laminating machine and let me tell you, I haven’t taken my loving gaze off of it since I brought it home from Staples.

Here she is, isn’t she beautiful?

Sue also introduced me to velcro dots.  Oh, the many, many uses of the velcro dot.

Here’s how the Morning Routine Posters work:  Each child has their own poster with disks, one disk for each task they need to complete.  The disks start on the “To Do” or red side of the poster.

As they complete a task, they move the corresponding disk to the “Done” or green side of the poster.  It doesn’t matter to me what order they do these things in, as long as they get done before they go off to play.  When they finish all of their tasks, they can then move their “Green Light. Go play!” disk to the “Done” side.  This is absolutely their favorite part! I included it as an afterthought and didn’t imagine how much they would love moving that green light to the “Done” side, then running off to play.

This has truly increased their responsibility for completing tasks in the morning and decreased my need for nagging them.  I can simply glance up from the dishes at the sink or the diaper changing table and see if they are “Done” or not, and redirect them back to their posters as necessary.  This has honestly given me a little more time in the morning to read my Facebook and drink more coffee clean up the house.

One trick I am using is to simplify for my 6 year old as a way of modeling for my 4 year old. My 6 year old doesn’t need to be reminded to “go potty” in the morning, for example, but when my 4 year old sees that her brother has that on the “Done” side of his poster, it gives her a bit more motivation to do so herself. They’re competitive that way. I like to make it work for me. [evil Mommy grin]

I’d be happy to share the templates I made.  (Link to fileshare coming soon.)  You can add your own tasks with clip art.  I used Microsoft Office clip art.  It’s free.   My kids have asked me to add tasks like “take vitamins” (good one!). They are so invested in this, I could not be more thrilled!

Here’s what you will need:

  • 3 different colors of 8.5×11 cardstock, plus white paper or cardstock
  • a hot laminating machine or contact paper
  • velcro dots
  • a paper cutter or the ability to cut very straight lines
  • Optional, 1 inch circle cutter (See photo below.  I got mine at Michael’s.)

1. Print out the tasks on white card stock. Print “To Do” on one color of card stock and “Done” on another. Use the 3rd color of card stock for your child’s name. I chose to go with Red, Green and Yellow to go along with my traffic light theme.

2. Cut the “Done” side exactly in half and use your favorite type of adhesive to secure it to the “To Do” side. Trim your child’s name and secure it to the top. I used Dotto, as it can be removed and readjusted as needed.

3. Laminate the poster and the sheets of tasks.

4. Cut out the tasks. you could cut them in any shape you desire with a scissors. I used my 1 inch circle cutter. You can see through the bottom of it so you can perfectly line up the clip art and words.

5. Attach rough side of Velcro dots to the disks and soft side of velcro dots to the poster. You can see that there is still room to add a couple more things, if needed. I can also change out the tasks if, say, my kids no longer need to be reminded to brush their teeth in the morning [pause for hysterical laughter].

So far it is working beautifully!

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6 Responses to Smooth Mornings

  1. Oh, be still my heart. We’ve been looking for something that might work for us, and have tried various chore charts – this might really work!! I’m going to work on it. I’m in total envy of your laminating machine!! Anything we want to laminate must be taken to a local office supply store, but it’s cheap so I can’t complain much. Once I finish ours, I’ll post pictures and link back to your post! Fantastic!! 🙂

  2. Yes, please, let me know how it goes! 🙂

  3. Instinctive Mom, let me know if you want the templates and I’ll email them to you. Still working on setting up my Scribd account so I can share docs.

  4. JavaMom says:

    Yes, your laminating machine IS beautiful. If only I knew someone with such a beautiful laminating machine and kids roughly the same age as mine…

    I particularly love the walking underwear clip art!

    Now, do you supposed I could put up a “Stop asking me for more things to eat before we walk out the door” image?

    Great post!

  5. karlamcurry says:

    I just got a laminating machine, and I’m in love… but now I need more sheets! And my hubby says I don’t need velcro dots because we have velcro strips… but I have to cut them and it makes my scissors all gooey!

    Anyhoo, I just made a chore chart for my daughter, but I love how you 2 sides to the chart and the green light to go play – great idea! I may implement that in the future.

    I also love your portable workbox system and bookmarked it; thanks for the inspiration!

    • Oh, yes, you need the velcro dots. I can tell you that for certain. If I didn’t mention that in the post (can’t remember), I order them from Sue Patrick’s website. She has the best deal.
      Thanks for stopping by my blog and thanks for your comments, Karla. 🙂

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