Toddler Bedroom: Visual Routine
How to Use a Visual Routine in the Toddler Bedroom
Young children think in pictures. The more consistent and visual your daily routines are, the more likely children are to be successful in meeting your expectations (and the more smoothly and cooperatively your day will run).
Visual Routines must be simply stated in pictures and words, and they should be posted throughout the home where those routines occur. Be certain the routine is an appropriate length for the age of your child. Toddler’s routines are best kept to three or four steps. If you feel that a routine like bedtime requires more steps, break it down into two smaller routines that you can depict separately. For example, your full bedtime routine might be to bathe, put on PJs, brush teeth, go potty, read a book, get one last sip of water, share an I Love You Ritual, and go to sleep. While this routine would be perfect for a 9-year-old, it will likely overwhelm a 3-year-old. Break it into two separate routines. One routine might be your “Get Ready for Bed” routine (bathe, PJs, brush teeth and go potty) that you post in the bathroom, and the other might be your “Going to Sleep” routine (read, sip of water, I Love You Ritual, and sleep) that you post in the bedroom.
Visual Routines make our expectations clear, increase cooperation, and increase children’s sense of safety. It is helpful to post visual routines for everything from your daily schedule, to your bedtime routine, to your bathroom routine. It is essential to create Visual Routines for times that regularly create difficulty in your day, and for new or anxiety-provoking activities like toilet training, the first day of preschool/daycare, or going to grandma’s house for the weekend.