GUEST BLOGGER: Wendi Putzke
When I taught elementary school I used a chart or schedule for everything. Every day my students knew what happened and in what order. I found that it helped them feel more comfortable throughout the day and transition better between subjects and activities.
A few months ago I realized that I was doing way too much work and having far too much difficulty transitioning my kids through their bedtime routine. I realized I needed to do something to take myself out of the equation and put the power back in my kids' hands (yep, that's my parenting style- less work makes for a happy mom and independent kid!).
The "Ah Ha!" moment came when I thought about ways I used to transition 30+ exuberant 5th and 6th graders from reading to math or recess to SSR... "Oh yeah, I had a system!" So, I created a bedtime and morning chart with pictures and words that tell my kids what they need to do and in what order. They move their pointer (each one has their first initial on it) through the chart and take care of what they need. My 5 yr old does this with almost no assistance and I help my 2 yr old move from one step to the other.
Also, now that my 5 yr old is in Kindergarten I knew we needed something to keep track of which days he needs to return library books, wear tennis shoes for PE or make sure he wears "Art Friendly" clothes. Plus, I knew he would do better if he knew what was on his schedule for the day. So, I made yet another chart. This one hangs on our back door (the one through which we exit most days) and says which activity/class he has on what day. We move the pointer down to the correct day. Then, as we exit Evan makes sure he has the right things on or in his backpack.
Making the chart is easy. I used cardstock and Word to make a table. Use clipboard images (you could also take pictures of your kid with their library books, or brushing their teeth, etc.) and pasted them into the correct spot on the table. I used clear contact paper to "laminate" them, but you can also laminate them with your own machine or at your local copy place. Then, I punched a hole in the top and attached the extra large binder clip and hung it around the doorknob. For the morning and evening job charts, I simply hung it on a hook in the kids' bedroom. Or, you can skip all the laminating and just pop your chart into a page protector, slip the binder clip through the top hole on the left and hang it on your doorknob or on a hook.
Once it's up, walk your kids through the chart for a day or two... after that you can sit back, enjoy your morning coffee and paper while you gently remind your kid to "follow the chart." Well, mostly.