Charts that keep me {sorta} sane

There are a few charts that we use that help keep my life with small children a little more sane. They may seem obvious to you or maybe you'll find use for them, too! Feel free to print and use them however you want.

Meals chart 
I cannot even tell you how much this chart has helped restore some sanity in my life. The biggest help honestly, is the "Breakfast, Lunch and Snack" section. Breakfast and lunch used to be such a struggle and took so much time(!) until I made this chart.

I made a "day for everybody." Oldest could eat peanut butter toast every day and Middlest loves oatmeal, so "if you don't like what we're having today, just wait until tomorrow." Done and done.

This also takes me out of the equation. Instead of getting asked a thousand several times a day, "What are we having for ____?", I just point to the chart. Done and done.

(Click on pictures to enlarge)
I made this to fit our schedule--Sunday mornings are hectic, so I keep that simple. And Wednesday nights Mr. N has to be at church (he runs the sound board) so we keep dinner simple that day, too.

We eat the same things every week for breakfast and lunch and we have a 2 week dinner rotation. Eating the same meals every week or two might sound boring, but the truth is, in general, we end up eating the same meals whether it's written down or not. This chart just takes the guesswork out of it. You can also see that on the weekends I have "Daddy cooks!" Trust me, people--I don't take that for granted!

Our dinner schedule is a little more flexible because Mr. N cooks. So anytime I want him to make dinner, he'll whip up something from whatever's in our cupboards. He's crazy like that. Again, I do not take it for granted.

Morning/Evening Routine Chart
We don't really use the "Evening" part so much as the "Morning"; something I'd like to change. As you can imagine, our mornings can be a little hectic. If things start gettin' all willy-nilly up in here, I'll just ask loudly, "Is your Morning Routine done?", and BAM! everyone's back on track. It's pretty great actually. :)

"Yes, Mama" Chart
This is a simple chart. Anytime my girls (and soon my boy) say "OK" or "Yes, Mama" when I ask them to do something, they get a check mark. When the row is full, they get a reward. Sometimes I'll give them a penny for each check mark, then we go to our library where they have five cent candy. Other times I'll let them pick something out at the Dollar Store.

You wouldn't need a chart to do this. You could use a jar and marbles and when the jar's full, do something fun. Or you could use a chart with stickers. Ours is laminated and we use dry-erase markers.
One thing I've noticed is that one of my girls is more motivated by this chart than the other, so it doesn't work for all children. But in general, I find it helpful in building the habit of obedience.

Our Daily Schedule
This chart doesn't get as much use as the other ones, but if our day gets REALLY crazy, we have this to come back to.  I mostly use this for our Anchor's throughout the day. You know, the activities that we do every day at the same time; meals, naps, etc. (sorry about the bad photography)

If you don't have any system or chart in place and would like to start one, I'd recommend doing one at a time. I didn't implement all of these at once. We started with the Daily Schedule and after that was working for us, I made our Morning/Evening Routines. Etcetera, etcetera!

If you do have a chart or system that saves your sanity, please share it in the comments! I'm always looking for ways to streamline!


  1. My menu plan has seriously kept me sane the past few years! :) I'm hoping to make some sort of something for A for her individual work as she is becoming more independent. I have yet to figure out how this will work. Each day has different subjects so I guess I would do it that way and maybe leave a blank for things that crop up that aren't regularly scheduled? :)

  2. Good ideas. I'm sure these charts keep everyone on track, including Mom.

    1. I especially like your meal chart. I should take a lesson. I get so confused for breakfast and lunch. We take care of ourselves for those meals and I don't know how to feed just me. Ha! It's true.

  3. Amy - I only recently started using the menu plan and while we don't stick to it perfectly, it has helped me so much! You should check out the most recent post from Amongst Lovely Things. :) She talks about writing out her kids' schedules the night before for the following day. Maybe you could get some tips?

    Linda - honestly, the breakfast and lunch part *is* the most helpful part for me! B/c if I really need him to, Mr. N will cook dinner any day. Love that man.

  4. Catie - I am pinning this post! I think these charts will be just the things I need to get back on track. I'm especially excited to plan out our snacks--why have I never thought to do such a thing before?! I'm always so annoyed when my kids ask for a snack every five minutes. With a chart, I can just point to it, say "we're having this for a snack," and be done with it. Genius!!!

    Also, I really love the "Yes, Mom" chart. I've done the reverse before (they get a consequence when they disobey), but I know putting a positive spin on it would be much, much more effective. And that seems really simple too, which I love.

  5. Thanks, Amy! :) We don't follow the meal schedule to a "T" but it definitely helps out a ton!


Thanks for taking the time to comment. It's encouraging!