These last few weeks I’ve spent much of my time scouring the Internet for resources to help my toddler adjust to all the changes beginning within our home. I’ve created several Pinterest board dedicated to all things toddler, everything from how to prepare a toddler for a new baby, to toddler activities, toddler responsibilities, and toddler schedules.
My current pinning obsession was triggered by the transition from a crib to a bed. My mind was racing with all the potential disasters that could ensue. Everything from ripping her room apart during naptime to getting out of bed in the middle the night and wandering through the house unsupervised. As a mom, I went through every worst case scenario multiple times. So, I decided that we needed to start with a strict bedtime routine. Something that would make this transition go as smoothly as possible. That’s when I came across visual aid charts. Keep it simple, that’s my motto! So I created a simple, yet strict bedtime routine visual, based on a few I found, mixing in our own family style.
After establishing a good bedtime routine using a visual chart, a light bulb went off! I could use visual aid charts for other things as well, hopefully combating the “threenager” stage in the process. It was at this point that I came across one pin of a visual aid schedule for toddlers. As it happens, I have the same chart from when I taught elementary school. My classroom management skills kicked in to high gear. I’ve done this before, and I already have the tools! I just needed to start implementing a similar plan with my own child at home. So, I began by pulling out the chart that was once hung in my classroom.
My daughter and I have always had our own little routine through the week, which stays pretty consistent for the most part. With summer in full swing, I’ve also written down all the fun activities available to us. Of course writing things down was more for me, not for her. She’s never had a visual of the day from beginning to end. If done right, I feel this can potentially cut down on her frustration level.
As an educator, one of the things I learned from the very beginning is that kids want to know what their day is going to look like from start to finish. Being able to see it makes everything run more smoothly As I’m writing this, I’m still trying to figure out what type of schedule will work best. It won’t always be just the two of us. So, I want something simple and easy that I’ll be able to continue right after the baby is born.
Since I doubt I will feel up to leaving the house for those first several weeks after giving birth, it’s very important that I include activities we can do around the house. A few of the home activities include playing with the water table in the backyard, going on a walk, and walking to story time at our local library. My goal is to have a few simple activities that wouldn’t take any time to put together.
Another simple activity I wanted to incorporate was 20 minutes of structured education. Up to this point we have not done any type of structured education, because children learn a lot through communication and play. Now that my daughter is three and will begin preschool in the fall, I felt like this summer was a great opportunity for a small amount of structured education. So I checked out a preschool curriculum from our local library. If curriculum guides aren’t for you, the dollar store has some great flashcards and workbooks for all ages. Plus, it’s a simple activity that I can accomplish here at home while tending to the baby.
Chores and Responsibilities
Another change I wanted to implement using visual aids is a responsibility chart. My husband and I want her to learn accountability from a young age. We feel part of that is cleaning up after yourself and having a few age-appropriate chores. This was something I also wanted to start before the baby was born, so she wouldn’t feel as though any of these changes were because of the baby. Some of these responsibilities include making her big girl bed every morning and after nap time, helping to load and unload the dishwasher, assisting in loading the washer and dryer, putting her dirty clothes in her laundry basket, and picking up her toys.
While this post may seem as though I have it all figured out, that’s far from the truth. I am still learning and trying to figure this whole parenting thing out. If this were my classroom, it would be so easy. Every aspect of the school day would be accounted for. But when it’s your own child that you are responsible for 24/7, it’s very different. With that being said, I would love some advice for creating a good morning routine for a three-year-old, who is very much NOT a morning person. She typically wakes up asking for things that are not possible or crying before her feet even hit the floor. Any suggestions? The morning routine is something I dread trying to tackle, so any advice is appreciated.
Overall, I feel the use of visual aid charts have made the days go more smoothly. Of course, we are still in the beginning stages of implementing all of these changes. So I can’t say for sure these new charts and activities will work, but we will keep plugging away at it. I have already started to see a small change in her with the use of her new found phrase, “I do it myself!” She really enjoys accomplishing tasks on her own and I couldn’t be more proud. So while I don’t have all the answers, I certainly feel like we are heading down the right path.