When Logan was in Early Intervention, I learned the concept of “transition difficulties” from his incredible Occupational Therapist. Basically, Logan, like many kids, has a very hard time moving from one thing to another. He can’t get his shoes on because he’s still looking at a book. He can’t eat breakfast because his shirt isn’t right. He can’t brush his teeth because he’s simply not ready. Even when we are trying to get out the door to go somewhere he loves (like preschool), he just can’t manage it without a meltdown…or 3.
I mentioned in my Lessons post that I’ve learned that it is ok to be late sometimes, which helps me handle the morning meltdowns a little better. But, it became a real problem last year when we were trying to get Jackson to Pre-k. Every day, we were 30 minutes late because I couldn’t get Logan fed, dressed, and into the car. I was going crazy until his OT recommended picture routine cards. They are AWESOME.
I searched Pinterest for “toddler routine cards,” and found mostly ones aimed at bedtime. Then, I thankfully found this. I printed the cards and faux-laminated them using page protectors (use what you’ve got!). The morning steps include:
- Eat Breakfast (which we do first, as we are prone to spills)
- Get Dressed (Ava was a bit perturbed at the clothing graphic.)
- Watch Show (my kids wake up at 5:00. They watch 1 show before school. The media post will come soon)
- Brush Teeth/Comb Hair/Wash Face (Vitamins are the pull after the show, so teeth brushing, etc. follows)
- Socks/shoes (I wish it had a seasonal version with coat/boots. We are in New England after all!)
- I also added a picture of our van to the mix, which was huge in actually getting Logan into his carseat.
The card-creator punches holes in the cards and uses hooks to hang the cards, but I thought for extra fine motor work I’d velcro clothespins to the wall, and have the kiddos pin up the cards. Each time we completed a step, one of the kids (there is an order…) grabs the card from a small basket and pins it. Logan ALWAYS pins the car. It is our only hope.
The routine cards worked like a charm. All three of the kids almost rushed to complete the morning routine so that they could clothespin the cards. Sure, it lost it’s newness (especially with Jackson) eventually, so I stopped it for the summer. We started it up again when school began, and we are back in the game. This blend of cards work for us, in this stage, but there are plenty of options out there. Search Pinterest, or make even make your own to fit your life. I often consider making a second set for the grown-ups in our house 🙂
I can’t be the only person who struggles to get out the door in the morning, right? What tricks have you found helpful in getting the littles to school?