Mrs. Riley to the Rescue

by Caroline on March 20, 2012

In an earlier post, Not Speaking the Same Language, Bubbles and I had a major communication meltdown. It wasn’t because she wasn’t listening, or because I wasn’t explaining.  It’s because … well, a couple of reasons.

  1. We have different definitions of things. My idea of a clean room is different from Bubbles’ idea of a clean room.
  2. Incomplete instructions. I was in a big hurry, and didn’t give detailed instructions of what I wanted done.
  3. ADHD makes multi-step directions difficult. The poor kiddo just can’t get through a long list of things to do without getting distracted.
Morning Routine Picture Cards

M-bug's Morning Routine Picture Card made on

I’ve had a few people suggest a picture list to help the girls “see” and keep track of what they’ve done and need to do for a particular task. After doing some research on the internet, I stumbled across, an online application you can use to make picture cards. After registering an account, you use the online page builder to make picture cards of whatever you want. They have literally thousands of pictures in their database, both photographs and illustrations. You can search for individual cards, or whole sets based on your search terms. You can also upload your own photos or illustrations.

I spent several days putting together an initial set of picture cards, and today finally printed and laminated them (I love laminators!). Both girls were excited to start using them. Here’s what I’ve made so far:

  • Morning Routine (a separate routine for each girl)
  • Evening Routine (a separate routine for each girl)
  • Clean Room (a separate routine for each girl)
  • Teeth, Face and Hair (one for both girls)
Clean Room Routine Picture Card from

First Page of Bubbles' Clean Room Picture Card (

M-bug’s routines are a bit more basic than Bubbles’ are. Her Morning Routine has more steps, because everything is very broken down. For instance, I didn’t tell Bubbles to “go upstairs/downstairs”. Conversely, M-bug’s Clean Room routine has fewer steps, so it’s not as detailed.

As the girls do the tasks on their picture cards, they’ll cross them off with a dry erase marker (laminator!!!). They had fun tonight doing their evening routines.

M-bug's Evening Routine picture card

M-bug's Evening Routine. She had fun marking off the tasks.

The program isn’t perfect. It’s got just a few preset templates for the positions of cards on the pages, and they don’t always come in the number or orientation that I’d like. Also, I prefer illustrations to actual photos, so I’m limited with my card choices. Hopefully the girls will get over having a few pictures of boys in their routines!   🙂   Finally, there is a cost involved. You can have access to the system for $5/month, $15/4 months, or $45/year. It’s not terribly expensive, though, so that’s helpful.

So far I’m encouraged. I’ll report back after a couple of weeks and let you know how it’s going. Thank you Mrs. Riley!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

GmaG March 21, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Looks great! It makes routine more like a game you see in the Hilights magazine! That’s really cool. I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes.


Caroline April 26, 2012 at 8:53 am

Late update: it works, when the girls remember to look at the cards. Which isn’t often. They start and then put them down to do a task and forget to go back to them. 🙁


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