Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bedtime Routine

Our 3-1/2 year old is quite the negotiator.  We have noticed that his bedtime routine has gotten longer and longer, and that each night he is sure we are forgetting something that is very crucial to his night time happiness.  It is also very important to him that things be done in a certain order.
So, to rein things in, and have his buy-in, I decided we would make a little picture-bedtime-chart.  It shows everything that is supposed to happen before he goes to bed (each step in its proper order) so that we are more or less bound by contract.  Hopefully this way we will not have to jump through all sorts of extra imaginative hoops for the sake of his daily whims.  I am planning to have it printed larger than our standard paper-sized printer will allow and then have it laminated.  I also think it will be useful for those rare times when we are not home to put our son to bed.  This way he can't accuse his grandparents of doing it wrong, as he always does.
I also happen to know a few physical/occupational/speech therapists who work with children who have developmental delays.  They all stress that sequencing is a very important skill for children to learn to help them navigate life.  A picture chart could help children learn simple concepts like the steps necessary to wash hands, get dressed or tie shoes.  Picture charts could also be used to illustrate house or school rules, acceptable foods for meals/snacks and the list goes on and on.  My son had a great time helping me make this chart by posing for all of the pictures.  He seems to really understand bedtime much better, and accept it much easier, now that he is looking at pictures of himself performing the steps with a smile on his face.  I highly recommend this for anyone who has a preschool-aged child with tyrannical tendencies.
Postscript: I submitted this to ohdeedoh where it was actually published!  I was really excited about that until I got some flack for posting a picture of my son on the toilet to a national website.  I must admit the comment stung.  Here's my deal: I am not one of those paranoid people who believes the world is out to get my family.  Yes, it is true that I have no control over who views a parenting website about design, but it's a parenting website about design!  Come on, people!  I refuse to live in a world where I am subjected to fear about "those" people who *might* be out there.  I did not show any private body parts and all of these pictures are pretend, taken to create a diagram to help him feel better about his nightly routine.  Perhaps I should have substituted that picture for some cartoon when I submitted it.  Honestly, the thought never occurred to me.  So, judge me if you will.  In another day, my post on ohdeedoh will be buried under many, many more posts equally harmless and forgotten just as fast.  I monitor my own websites very closely.  More importantly, I monitor my children very closely.  I wish we lived in a world where we could all be more civil and friendly when we are navigating the anonymous world of the internet.  Too many comment strings end up so negative and sarcastic.
Thanks also to Get Buttoned Up, who also picked up my picture chart!  Overall, I am feeling the love!


  1. We did this too (though in a less sophisticated format!), and found it very effective! Love your photos! I'd recommend putting a date on it so when he's through and you put it in your "Nathan" folder, he'll have an idea of when it was important to him :)

  2. I love the idea, but heartbroken over the postscript! I can't believe people criticized your photos! I think they are perfectly harmless and show just as much skin as, say, a boy wearing shorts. And much less skin than, say, a girl in undies or a swimsuit. What the heck! I, too, wish we lived in a world that was kind and supportive rather than stinging and critical! sheesh! anyway, keep up the good work!

  3. Super great idea, and how handy for the babysitter. I wonder if I could still get my boys to pose for these almost 7 they still have issues with distractions. Have you ever read, "Don't let the pigeon stay up late?"

  4. We love it. Bryan the proud Grandpa, plans to talk about this in his Sunday school lesson at the nursing home. You are such awsome parents. Grandma Kathy

  5. Love it -- I plan to use the idea for so many of our power play problems! And boo on the people who can't help but find something to criticize.