Thursday, 19 January 2012

DIY Magnetic Reward Chart (and a little unloading)

Now, I don't know about some of you, but we've been struggling a bit to get our kids to bed at the moment. Ever since Christmas when we let their routines slip a little they've been a bit...tricky.

Let me expand a little. Normally both kids would eat dinner, play quiet games, we'd take them upstairs; bathe them, brush teeth, pjs, story song, prayer. Then I'd say night to Izzy with Ethan, sing him a song in his room and say night to him. Blow a kiss to Izzy and then high five hubs when we got downstairs and do whatever we wanted! 

Yep I hate the old us. We were smug and over confident. I mean don't get me wrong...since Ethan was born bedtime and nights have been very tricky (like up every two hours feeding till 13 months hard). But since Ethan was 14 months till before (20ish months) we've had it fairly easy!

Not now.

Izzy screamed, ran about, came downstairs for a drink, tissue, toilet trip, cuddle, teddy...ran screaming into Ethan's room (who'd just fallen asleep),.

Ethan would cry, demand to be held, not fall asleep alone etc, etc. I'm sure most of you know the drill.

This went on from about boxing day until a week or so ago. I'd have to sit in Ethan's room holding him till he fell asleep, then quietly put him down without him waking, sneak out of his room and then have to repeat till he managed to stay down. Only then could we put Izzy down, which would take a long time too. Plus Ethan would surprise us with 3.30am wake ups refusing to fall asleep and wanting breakfast. Ugh.

Sorry, this was supposed to be a simple tutorial but it has turned into a great big offload! If you skip past the last bit that's fine, just typing it has been very therapeutic.

Anyway, things have been improving greatly but Izzy is still struggling to stay in bed. So one night I had a brainwave. 

She loves reward charts. I've had them before  for bed times, potty training and other random things...but I wanted to make a really special one now she was a little older. And one I could reuse.

Serendipitously I also found some magnetic paper in the pound shop that I had yet to use...

So I made this for my fridge. If you also want to make one, here's what you'll need:

Mod Podge (I made my own recently with half and half water and white glue, though I think a little more glue to water may be even better, this one make a few bubbles, but worked really well still!)
Scrapbook Paper - For the front of the chart, mine was a slightly patterned pink.
Images for magnet fronts - Mine is the flowers and presents paper, but you could print off your kids fave cartoon characters, game or whatever you fancy.
Magnetic Paper - Mine's upside down because it just looks like normal paper the other way round. I used one sheet for the chart and about a third of another for the magnets.

Cover the paper side of your magnet paper with Mod Podge and then smooth on your chosen trimmed background.

Cut out your magnet images and Mod Podge them onto another sheet of magnetic paper.

When your chart background is dry draw on your chosen design. I chose a castle with a garden path. But choose whatever you fancy or print one off and skip the background paper bit. I'm sure there are more original ideas, but Izzy really loves princesses right now.

Cut out your magnets and leave to dry.

You'll probably need to lay them under some heavy books after to prevent them from curling a little a the edges.

Then show and explain it to you just-woken-up child.

She gets one magnet for going to bed without getting out or shouting out and going straight to sleep (we found that if we said go to bed "well" or "nice" that wasn't specific enough). And another if she stays in bed 'till her alarm at seven.

The alarm clock is one we got from Ikea when we were married that you can record your own wake up. She does her own new one every now and then. Sometimes it's: "Time to wake up!" or "ROOOOOAAAARRRRRR!" or "Poopy morning."

You know, she keeps it fresh. :)

So far it's working pretty well as an incentive and she knows she can choose a magazine when she gets to the castle.

So what do you do with your kids to help with bed time routine? Ethan is still struggling to stay in bed past 5.30, and will normally wake Izzy too...

Please, for my sanity, don't tell me that your kids are perfect sleepers. I don't have much left to go till I'll be on the crazy train! 

p.s. I will have some Ideal vs. Real posts to show before the end of the week! I've not been struggling with the 'real' shots though! 


  1. Your not alone, there are many who have to deal with the same thing and it comes and goes. From the day Charlotte was born we never got an unbroken nights sleep until she was 18mths old and it's tough, sleep deprivation is torture, takes away your concentration, reasoning, patience, smile, sense of worth and sometimes when it gets really bad... the will to live!
    I totally sympathise (hugs)
    I kept Charlotte in her cot with the sides on until just before Christmas, she will be 3 in March, but knew no different and I wasnt ready to deal with the getting out of bed 40 times a night. Thankfully it has paid off we had one night when she didnt want to go to bed and was soon marched right back in there with a firm 'you must stay in bed it is sleep time now' she will now not even get out of bed to get a dropped teddy. if she is not happy or needs us she will call to us. She has her lullabies which we play every night (a little leap frog book that plays tunes for 10mins)thats usually enough to send her off.
    I understand it's more difficult with 2 when one is waking the other up. I like your reward chart I will keep it in mind for Charlotte when I start her toilet training, yep shes still in nappies, but what can you do when she refuses to even think about telling you when she needs to go! Charlotte is my 4th, the others didnt have sleep issues. Shes so different in a lot of ways from the rest. Not much help in this comment I know but just wanted to let you know your not alone :)

  2. Cute idea! I like this for whatever goal we happen to be working on with the kids. Sleep... ugh. Lately it's a bedtime snack deal. The bedtime snack never ends. It's awful. But we just stick to our guns and discipline. When snack is over, it's over. I'm not above setting timers! And if there's any fits, they get the opposite of what they want. Like if they throw a fit about snack, then no night snack tomorrow. I'm pretty sure in a few days there will be another parenting woe and this one will be past. :)