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Positive Discipline

Amazing morning/bedtime routine chart

Morning and bed-time routine chart

This is NOT your typical morning/bed-time routine chart, and that is what I LOVE about it!  When I recently was interviewing an 11-year SAHM, Kerry, I noticed this genius idea on her wall and begged her to be able to share it.  I have never seen a chart used like this and I LOVE it!  If you have children that are school-aged, this is a must-have.

What you need:

1.  A visual clock.  Kerry purchased this awesome Teaching Hands Clock (from www.difflearn.com), which is specially designed to help children understand what hour and minute it is.

2.  This awesome 2-sided routine chart to help your child know the steps needed to get out the door (or to bed) on time!


Bed-time routine chart

The genius in this chart includes the following:

1.  Pictures used to demonstrate each activity help the child to clearly visualize what needs to happen while the red minute hand is in that section of the chart.

Morning routine chart

Morning Routine chart to help children self-monitor so they get out the door by 8am!

2.  The chart can stand as the “bad guy”, so parents are less likely to get in a power struggle.  It may just be semantics, but it’s less conflict-inducing when you say “What does the clock show you need to do next?” or “oh no! You only have 3 minutes left before the clock will move on to Brush/floss time.  Can you beat the clock?” It comes across so differently than when you say, “I have told you 3 times already.  Get your PJ’s on!”

3.  It is helping your child to understand time better as they walk through and are aware of how fast 5 or 10 minutes goes by.

Reversible morning/bedtime chart

Super cool reversible morning/bedtime chart!

This clock is designed to be reversible.  So, you create a sort of hook on top of your clock with a twisted up wire hanger, and then you simply hang up the Morning Routine side in the AM, and flip it to the Bed-Time Routine side in the PM.

For those of you who aren’t feeling crafty, or just don’t have the time to make one of these yourself, I’m gonna work on making a template you can download.  Until then, here is a template of a Routine_chart_for_kids my sister used with her 4-year-old.  Here is part of the chart, but I recommend downloading it to see the whole chart.

Morning Routine Chart




Ways to involve your toddler in the kitchen


If your 1-year-old is like mine, they LOVE to be involved with cooking (or anything you are doing in the kitchen)! My Chunky Monkey loves to sweep too.  These are aspects that Montessori calls “Practical Life” lessons.  When a child has ways that they can be involved in the daily activities (cooking and cleaning), they develop independence and confidence.   Here’s how they do practical life lessons in a Montessori school.

Here are some ways we have found we can get our 1-year old safely involved in the kitchen.

1. cooking with a toddlerPurchase a learning tower.  They are a bit pricey, but you will use it for years.  Also, to us it is worth a million dollars for how happy it makes our son as he is able to more easily help out in the kitchen.  You can set it anywhere and adjust the height so your child is easily (and safely) able to reach the table or counter.

2.  Get out the salad spinner! Our son has loved “helping” make salad since he was 10 months old.  He pushes the button for the salad (which helps him build important hand muscles that will be needed for writing and drawing), and he takes the lid off on his own.  He also loves to tear the lettuce into small pieces and put them in a bowl I set next to him.  The trick is to have his hands washed and a very clean floor under his work area. 🙂  That way if/when he drops pieces, they can easily be picked up and used.

3.  Look for opportunities for them to help stir.  Our Chunky helping in the kitchenMonkey loves to help stir, and it’s an activity that enhances his arm coordination.  We stand close-by, but encourage him to be as independent as possible.  His smile is usually about the size of a slice of watermelon, as he feels so proud to be helping.  *As a side note: I believe in the Positive Discipline principle that children thrive when they have a sense of significance and belonging.  Learn why we need a sense of belonging here.

I’d love to hear other ways you get little hands involved in the kitchen. Please share below.


What to do when your 1-year-old won’t get in the car seat

Quote from Positive Discipline. Jane Nelson & Lynn Lott

Quote from Positive Discipline. Jane Nelson & Lynn Lott

This is a tiny example of using the Positive Discipline tool of “Connect before you correct”.  I am NOT saying this will always work, but I had a tiny success moment the other day and thought I would share it, in case it could help another parent.

We were leaving Music Together class (where my 1-year-old had just had a ton of fun), and he was not interested in going home.  We got to the car and I couldn’t quite open the car door to get him into his seat because the car next to us was about to pull out.  So, I set him down in the grass in front of our car and let him walk around in the median a bit (holding my hand).  *This may have not helped our situation because he loves to be outside walking around.

Anyway, once the car was gone, I opened the car door and tried to sit him car seat trouble with toddlerin the car seat but was greated with a very hefty hip thrust forward, arching his back and screaming.  Yeah.  Loud and clear little buddy.  You do not want to get in the car. Got it.

I was guessing he was sad to leave class and all the other kids, so instead of having a power struggle to try to shove him in the seat, I pulled him out of the seat and onto my hip and talked him through it a bit. *Lots of connecting to what he was likely feeling.    “CM, I know you are sad that we are leaving.  It was so much fun in class today, wasn’t it.  We got to play with fun instruments and friends.  It’s hard to say goodbye.”

Then….the correction.

“Let’s look around though.  See! All the other kids are getting in their cars to go home.  The class is all done (a phrase he knows from when eating is done).  So, we are going to get in our car too, to go home.”

I was annoyed, but did my best to talk slowly and with a calm voice (not easy in these moments).  

After a moment of looking around and watching another car drive away, I sat him back in his car seat and talked about the fun that was ahead.  “Dad will be home when we get there, and we will cook dinner together and get to play together.”  His body softened into the seat and we were able to move forward as we normally do.

So thankful for this tool from Positive Discipline. I would love to hear comments of what you do when you get that hip thrust out of the car seat (or other tough moments).  I know they will come again!

Author: FLORA

I am a post-career SAHM (Stay-at-home mom), living in Bozeman Montana. I share stories and ideas from parenting with a Montessori and Positive Discipline inspired perspective. Also, I LOVE DIY projects and finding great ways to use thrift store or hand-made toys for my little ones.
Learn more about why I say I'm "Just" a stay-at-home mom.

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