My recent project
was a DIY routine clock for Roo. Routines are an important part of a young child’s development. It makes them feel safe always knowing what to expect at any given time of the day. A daily routine that is inconsistent all the time can lead to anxious kids. An anxious toddler or preschooler can mean meltdowns, temper tantrums, or being clingy. This article on the CDC.gov website talks about this. It can be hard to calm down a preschooler.
I have kept our daily routine basically the same since Roo was four months old, give or take naps and feedings. Not just for the reasons above, but I feel more relaxed when I can
control predict the way things go in the day. I’m not a crazy strict scheduler that has her kids’ day scheduled down to the hour or minute. But generally we always follow the same pattern of habits that are within certain blocks of time.
Our Daily Routine
Roo wakes up and we start getting out of bed. School days this happens a little quicker. Non-school days she might get a “wake-up show” on her tablet in my bed while Mommy
dozes finishes waking up.
Breakfast time. Again M-W-F this happens quicker so I can get Roo to preschool on time. The other days we take our time with breakfast prep and eat at a slower pace.
M-W-F Roo goes to preschool and Mommy get some blogging done!
Other days Roo has some independent play time or outside time while Mommy cleans or does other housework.
Lunch time. Always something simple.
Quiet time. Roo usually naps, sometimes Mommy does too. But quiet time is essential during the whole block whether she naps earlier or later in the block. Sometimes we might have a craft or a sensory bin for her during this time.
Mommy gets ready for work or we both get ready to leave for errands or playdates.
This time block is Roo’s playtime. Gross-motor play is essential in this block to get Roo ready for bedtime.
Bath time. Every night, it helps Roo to wind down for bed. She might do some Creative Bath Time Activities in the bath or just play with both toys. She doesn’t have to be in there the whole 45 minutes, but sometimes she chooses to. After she gets out, it’s teeth brushing, hair brushing, and other hygiene things.
In bed. Cuddles, reading together, and other calming activities are done before I insist on lights out and eyes closed at 8:30pm. Depending on whether she had a nap and how much gross-motor play she had, she might be asleep at 8:00 or not fall asleep until almost 9:30. But bedtime is 8:00.
Does this consistent routine avoid tantrums?
Unfortunately toddlers and preschoolers love to test limits often just to make sure nothing has changed.
Unfortunately Roo is a particularly stubborn and headstrong little girl.
It does minimize them and keep the tantrums and arguments short though. When we are on vacation, or there’s another reason for our routine to be thrown off, the meltdowns get real. And fast.
Lately, Roo has been arguing about needing “5 more minutes” before bathtime, before bedtime, of more playtime, before coming to the dinner table…
Since I schedule our routine in blocks, and also Roo can’t tell time yet, I searched for a way to SHOW her what it was time to do and for her to SEE what was coming next.
A trip to IKEA was where inspiration hit.
I found this plain white clock and immediately brought it home and broke it!
No seriously. Here’s your tutorial for a DIY routine clock for kids.
DIY Routine Clock for Kids
IKEA clock or one similar
This is the one I used. *If you click the affiliate link, I will receive a small commission if you decide to purchase.*
Flat head screwdriver
What to do
Use the flat head screwdriver to pop the plastic front off the clock. If you can see the hinges where the clock is inserted like the IKEA one, press the screwdriver here.
Remove the hands (remember what order to put them back on!)
Trace out your time blocks like a pie chart on the clock. (For example trace a line from the 1 to the center and another line from the 3 to the center for your quiet time block.)
Use your colored sharpies to fill in each block. Color code everything and keep the legend close by for the first week or so! (Blue for bathtime, Red for meals, Purple for sleeping…)
Replace the hands and plastic cover then insert the battery.
Here’s my DIY routine clock
Now Roo can easily see when she should be getting into the bath and getting ready for bed time.
This helps for older kids that need to study or do homework or need a visual reminder of when screen time is and isn’t. In fact, my DIY routine clock ran out of battery a few days ago, and my fully grown husband called and asked me to pick up batteries from the store. It was really helping him to keep Roo on her schedule while I was at work!
Time management is something even adults struggle with. A visual reminder of what needs to be done, like a DIY routine clock, can be helpful for toddlers through adults.
I kept mine simple and let Roo decorate it with stickers so she would feel attached to it. It is hers after all. But I’d love to see how creative you can get with this DIY project. tag me @whimsy.roo on Instagram or @whimsyroo on Facebook so I can see your routine clock designs.