One of my popular posts is about the daily routine of a Montessori toddler. As a productivity coach, I often get asked about setting up easy daily routines for parents and young children.

I know chore charts and their adaptions are a popular option but from the Montessori point of view; they are not ideal, especially when the charts are incentivised with a reward. The child’s motivation comes from outside rather than from within.

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. This also helps with power struggles that often happen when younger children are trying to assert their independence.

In this post, we will look at how to make a personalised daily routine set of Montessori 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 personalised 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 personalised cards helps 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). In the Montessori philosophy, using beautiful routine cards and the prepared environment are key to success when you want to foster independence with your children.

Plus, it is a great way to introduce the idea of routines, to have conversations about daily life and the daily rhythm of the family. It’s a good idea to get all the family members thinking about what is working and what’s not before you even start to implement the visual schedule.

As this is such an important part of the family functioning well, I created an entire 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. Go through your normal morning routine and evening routine. 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 visual routine cards for each child.

If your busy mornings are just too rushed 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. And any other practical life skills that take place in the regular rhythm of the day. For older kids, it could involve tasks such as packing their school bag, putting their dirty clothes in the laundry basket, and giving you any papers that have been sent home from school. It could also include tasks that you want to delegate such as when to water plants or feeding the pet

Once you have your photos, you make your Montessori printable routine cards.

I have created a template to make this digital download 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 the best way for your family to use them. Using Montessori at home means that these types of activities can easily be personalised.

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 personalised 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 cross out completed tasks with a marker or use a magnet on the fridge.

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 different activities are completed.

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 it becomes a consistent routine, you can add in a couple more tasks or another micro routine.

No rewards

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, and “worst first” is easy to remember.

You can also add in a rule about no TV or playing until they completed the tasks. Don’t position it as a reward instead, have it as a blanket rule. If you’re having trouble getting the kids ready in the morning because they argue about finishing Dora or stopping Minecraft, then this rule should be enforced.

Montessori Daily Routine Cards – Wrap Up

Create personalised Montessori Daily Routine Cards so that both you and the kids know what needs to be done. Instead of screaming and losing the plot because the kids are choosing to ignore you, simply point to where you have set up your routine cards. 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.


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