We started a bedtime chart for Sawyer about 2 weeks ago. We started it after an especially hard night getting him ready for bed- much yelling and screaming and obstinacy. We came downstairs and, while listing to the screaming upstairs, mentioned that there HAD to be an easier way that what we were experiencing each night. I jumped online and started googling bedtime + toddler and came across a couple of ideas. This was the combination of a couple.
The chart I already had- it was an alphabet chart leftover and not used from work. The cards I found online at Nick Jr and the backs were coloring sheets online (oh yeah, and I laminated them too). The premise was- we had 6 cards, 5 things he had to do before bed and 1 that mommy and daddy turn over based on how he actually goes to sleep. The 5 he had are: put ice in his water bottle (a nightly procrastination- we figured we'd just take care of it BEFORE it became a problem!), use the potty, brush teeth, pajamas, and read a book. The 6th one is the 'Lights Out' one- the one mommy and daddy turn over. We decided that if we go in once to his calls, it's ok. If we go in more than one time or end up screaming, the last card doesn't get turned over.
Once he does one card, he turns it over (except the 6th one, of course!). In the morning, if all the cards are turned over, then he gets a sticker to put on a letter in his name. Once all the letters are covered, he gets a dollar and gets to take mom or dad to Dollar Tree and pick out something special. Tonight he decided to take daddy and he got Gummy Bears. There are nights that he doesn't get the last card turned over, and there are nights that he has decided he doesn't want to go potty or brush his teeth and so those cards don't get turned over. The first night it didn't happen, he threw a small fit. But after reminding him that it was his choice to go to bed quietly and since he didn't, it didn't get turned over, all was well and the next night went better. I like the chart because he learns what he needs to do in order to go to bed. It's a routine, which is helpful, but he gets to decide which order we do things. So it's a win-win situation.