One of my most popular posts is about the daily routine of a Montessori toddler and one of the things I often get asked about as a productivity coach is how to actually set up the routines so that it’s easy for both parents and kids.
I know chore charts and their adaptions are a popular option but from Montessori point of view, they are not ideal especially when the charts are incentivised with a reward. This is because the tasks become externally motivated rather than the child being intrinsically motivated.
The Montessori philosophy is built on the premise of children being intrinsically motivated and learning to be an independent child, rather than being offered bribes and rewards.
In this post, we will look at how to make personalized Montessori daily routine cards and then how to use them.
Disclaimers: This post may contain affiliate links which means I will make a commission if you choose to buy anything, at no cost to you.
Why is it better to create personalized Montessori daily routine cards?
There are lots of options out there of pre-made cards or software options where you can use pre-created clip art and yes, they do work. But making personalized cards help the child to identify with the images at a deeper level. They understand that is THEM doing the task and not some cartoon kid that looks a little bit like them (or even nothing like them).
Plus it is a great way to introduce the idea of routines, to have conversations about them and get all the family members thinking about what is working and what’s not before you even start to implement the routine cards.
As this is such an important part of the family functioning well I created a whole section of training on this topic in The Wonder Moms Success club, if this is something your family is struggling with, you can join us here.
Start with taking photos!
You can do this on a regular day. As your child does the tasks that you want them to do without you nagging, take a photo of them in action. If you have more than one child then I recommend taking photos of each one and making them a set of prompt cards each.
If your days are just too crazy to be taking photos willy-nilly set aside an hour at the weekend or a less busy time of day and explain to the kids what you are going to do.
What should you take photos of?
Think about the tasks that you constantly have to nag about or the things that your child doesn’t do automatically. For toddlers, this could be brushing their teeth, getting dressed, getting out their breakfast dishes. But for older kids it could include feeding the pet, packing their school bag, putting their dirty clothes in the laundry basket, giving you any papers that have been sent home from school.
Once you have your photos you can print them out and make them into Montessori daily routine cards.
I have created a template to make this easier for you with a full set of instructions, it’s easy, I promise! The template will speed things up for you.
If you are already a subscriber and have access to the resource library you can log in here. If not, sign up at the bottom of the post and you can download not only the Montessori daily routine cards template but also all the other freebies. Including a chart to help you decide which are appropriate jobs for your kids to do around the home.
Decide this first before printing out your Montessori daily routine cards
Before you print out your routine cards you need to decide how you want to use them. Using Montessori at home means that these types of activities can easily be personalized, it’s more difficult to do with a class full of kids.
Here are three ways, choose whichever is easier for you or whichever one your kids will like best.
Printable daily routine magnets
Do check that this is OK to use on your printer before you buy it. If it is and you haven’t used this before, are you in for a treat? We still have magnetic personalized poetry words on the fridge that I made at least 10 years ago!
Anyway, back to the task…
- Print out the template page with your photos onto the magnetic pages.
- Cut out the images
- Set up an area to use them. This could be a mini white board or a section of the fridge.
- As the child completes the task, they can move the magnet from the to-do section to the done section.
This is a similar type of magnetic sheet I used, do make sure it is the right type for your printer.
Card Stock and laminated chart for your daily routine
The second option is to print it onto cardstock so that it’s sturdy. Then laminate the whole page or place the page inside a plastic sleeve.
The child can then use a dry erase marker to cross out the tasks they have completed or if you stick the sheet to the fridge they can place a magnet over the tasks they have finished.
Sticker paper and wooden blocks
Another option that works well for children that need something bigger or more tactile is to print the page onto sticker paper like this. Cut out the images and stick them to wooden blocks or anything else that would work for your child.
To use have two baskets or specific areas where the child moves the block from one place to another once the task is done.
Problems to avoid when working with Montessori daily routine cards
Keep it simple
If your child is brand new to all this, start off with just two or three tasks and make them into a micro routine. Remind them each day about using their daily routine cards/stickers/magnets. Once they get the hang of things you can add in a couple more tasks or another micro routine.
As tempting as it is to give a reward, you’ll be shooting yourself in the foot if you do. If you are using this for jobs that need doing at home, remember that you, as a parent don’t get paid for these tasks so your child doesn’t need to either. Instead, instil that they are an active member of the family and it is part of their role to do the tasks.
The younger you start the better, follow these steps when it comes to disciplining toddlers, you can use the same techniques on older kids too.
Do the worst first
If there is resistance to doing the tasks, teach them about doing the worst first (AKA eat the frog method) I find eating the frog doesn’t go down well with most kids but worst first is easy to remember.
You can also add in a rule about no TV or playing until the tasks are completed. Don’t position it as a reward instead have it as a blanket rule. If you are struggling with getting the kids ready in the morning because you are fighting over watching to the end of Dora or getting them to put Minecraft down then this rule need to be in place.
Create personalized Montessori Daily Routine Cards so that both you and the kids know what needs to be done. Instead of you screaming and losing the plot because the kids are choosing to ignore you, simply point to where your routine cards are set up. Let them take it from there.
Have open discussions with the whole family. Talk about what is working and what isn’t and make the changes you need for the day to flow.
If you need more help with all of this then come and join us over in the Wonder Mom Success Club.