Routine Chart

Sometimes it’s hard getting two very excited little girls ready in the morning and evening.  In an attempt to make things more efficient and encourage the girls to be more independent I wanted to set up some sort of chart system.  I spent a lot of time looking online for one to buy (I’ll include a few of the ones I liked but passed on at the bottom in case you’re interested).  But I couldn’t find one I liked.

I wasn’t a big fan of the reward systems on the charts I saw, although some weren’t too bad.  We just didn’t think the girls should be earning a reward for doing the normal daily things that are expected of them like brushing their teeth or picking up their toys.  We also didn’t want the girls to get overly focused on the reward.

After a lot of thinking, I realized that what I was really looking for was more of a routine chart than a chore chart.  I didn’t want a list of chores but a routine for us to move through each morning and evening.  Recently I’ve been reading Positive Discipline for Preschoolers and in it they talked about a routine chart as opposed to a chore chart.  Their suggestion was just a simple chart listing the routine, perhaps with pictures.  That just seemed too boring for us with no way for little ones to keep track of what they had completed.

So after a lot of thought, this is what we came up with.  It’s a train that the girls move through their day.

We chose four tasks that the girls need to complete in the morning to get ready for the day and four to get ready for bed.  I made sure that they were tasks we do every day.  In the morning I have: eat breakfast, get dressed, brush their teeth, and brush their hair. 

For the evening Mia and Zoe need to: clean up their toys, wash up, put on their pajamas, and brush their teeth.  I used clipart to make the activities (my husband drew the train stations and made the trains).  I wanted the girls to be able to identify the task by the picture, not just the words. 

I wanted the chart to move as a circle so that they move one way in the morning and then back to the train house in the evening.  To do this, I then realized that the trains would need to turn around or they would be moving backwards.  I found the easiest way to solve this was just to make two sets of trains that I change out when we use the chart. I added an envelope to the back to hold the extra trains.


I thought a long time about how to move the pieces.  I decided to make them magnetic.  Originally I was thinking velcro but I’ve used it before with some file folder games and after a few times it tends to tear off of the paper with the girls pulling on the pieces repeatedly.  I tried to use magnetic paper but it wasn’t strong enough to hold up the train piece through the piece of paper, especially when I laminated the pieces.  Instead, I just used the larger round magnets from Michaels, on the back of the train and for the different stops.  To make it look prettier and to keep the girls from picking at the magnets, we glued the magnetic pieces to the back of the chart.  We did need to add the dots on the track so that the girls could easily see where their trains go.

So how is it working?

Great!  The girls really enjoy moving their train from spot to spot.  It has made our mornings much more efficient and pleasant since I no longer need to nag the girls to finish getting ready.  I just ask them to check their trains and then we see what we need to do next.  Once all the tasks are completed, they either put on their shoes for us to go out or they get to play and then their trains move to the daytime station.

One thing I really like about the chart is that it is also okay if we don’t use it one evening or morning.  With the charts that gave a star for each task completed to earn a reward, I felt like we couldn’t miss a single morning/evening or the girls would be punished for moving along without the use of the routine chart or for having a fun evening out.  But this way the reward is just the moving of the trains.

Another thing I like is that I can put both girls on one chart.  I’m embarrassed to admit that it took looking at charts online for awhile before it dawned on me that I would need two chore charts for the girls.  Duh!  This way I could fit both of them onto one chart.  You could even fit three or maybe more depending on the size.



If you don’t want to make one yourself, here are some of the ones I was considering…


  1. Melanie Lanz says:

    This is great Rebecca! You are so creative! Can I buy one from you??? 😉 Just kidding…well sort of! Hope to see you all soon! 🙂

  2. Aunt Becky Kuntz says:

    This is a great idea to help the girls develop “good” habits!! I’m also happy to hear that they won’t be getting a “reward” for everything they do and are learning there are chores that need to be done every day by everyone in the family. The visual chart will be helpful to them when they need to see what their progress is each day. Very inventive!! 🙂

    • Thanks Aunt Becky! It really bothered me that all the charts I saw were pretty focused on the reward. And I do want them to learn that everyone in the family needs to pitch in. The girls actually have started taking their dishes to the sink after meals. One of the first times I asked them to do it, Mia told me “No, it’s your job.” I don’t think so! We then had a nice long talk about how everyone, including them, have jobs to do in our home. 🙂

      • Aunt Becky Kuntz says:

        You are sooooooo RIGHT!!!!

      • Syreeta says:

        That is the same thing my 10 year old said when I brought him into the laundry room to do his own clothes! “Why can’t you just do it? You do the laundry.” WHAT?!?! LOL!

  3. I came across your post while searching for clip-art for my own routine chart project. My idea is more simple, I guess. It’s more of a check-list. I haven’t quite finished yet but the idea is to print the visual check-list, paste onto larger paper & then laminate them to serve as double sided place-mats. (AM & PM) They can check off the items on their lists with dry erase pens.

    Not nearly as much fun as your idea, but I’m too far along to change things now. ;D

    I love your chart! It turned out very cute! Glad it’s working out for you; it gives me hope for my household of 6!

    • Thanks Desiree! We’ve been really sick or I would have responded sooner. Your routine chart sounds really cool. I really like the idea of making it a placemat since we always start everything after breakfast or dinner. I would love to see a picture when you are finished.

  4. Syreeta says:

    I absolutely ADORE this! I had a Jr. Chore Chart that I got from a Dave Ramsey kit, and while it was nice, I felt the same way you did. I didn’t want to reward my children for doing the things I feel they are responsible for just for being alive LOL. I am going to make something like this for both of my children, because I think it will REALLY help… them AND me. At night, I spend a good amount of time telling them to do their bedtime stuff, and 20 minutes later, they still haven’t done anything and now I’m yelling at them and exhausted.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: