A short while ago I lamented about routines and staying focused. One of the things about motherhood (adulthood?) that I struggle with is the repetitive tasks. It’s no wonder my children also struggle with this! Nothing makes me feel more like a failure than knowing kids thrive on routine and not being able to keep one myself consistently. There comes a time when I feel like they should just “get” it on their own, but the reality is they’re just kids, how on earth can I expect them to!?

My oldest thrives on routine but doesn’t always consistently have the maturity or ability to regulate or keep one on her own (ADHD and sensory processing notwithstanding). Once she became a strong and confident reader, I started leaving her notes on certain days where I knew the routine would be different (whether it was due to an appt, a weekend, during “track-out” from year round school, etc).

It would work out great, but then the next day when we’d return to our normal routine, she’d struggle again, and it felt like we were starting at square one. Then it hit me. She’s a rule follower and her rigidity makes routines easy for her because she also knows what to expect. AHH, my laminator to the rescue!

Fewer lectures from me, less rushing, more independence, and waayyyyyyyyy less repeating myself (I do not like to be ignored—this is MY issue, but wow does parenthood bring it out in me. The more I have to repeat myself, the more ignored I feel). Laminated lists give my kids autonomy and control over which order they do things, while giving me the confidence that their “musts” will get done. Fewer fights and arguments too, since they can decide what to do next.

I’ve often been (lovingly 😉) chastised for making lists about lists, but in this case they work, so I’m owning it! Add a dry erase marker and some painters tape or a magnet and they can be used over and over and over again. 🥳

This simple task has been such a game changing thing for our oldest, but my 4 ½ year old isn’t quite in the same boat yet. She thinks her list has to happen literally and specifically in that order, so sometimes she gets into a fight when she thinks she NEEDS to brush her teeth AFTER she takes her pull-up off, when I’d argue that isn’t necessarily the case (especially when the bathroom is, ahem, occupied).

My other favorite thing about kids reading routine lists is they get to help you remember. How come, though, they have trouble reading “homework” but can read “snack time” no problem? I jest of course.

I made the templates myself, but they are not difficult. I wrote them by hand at first and then decided to type them because I wanted to be able to put pictures by them for the non-reader.

Let me know if you use something similar, if you’ve tried this yourself, or if you have other tips for a mama who struggles to manage the chaos!