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Active Little Daily Schedule

If you're a visitor of this site, you already understand the challenges of raising an extremely active child. Children who are exceptional demand so much more of us as caregivers; they insist on our undivided attention and require a high level of energy and resources in order to thrive. And that's on a good day.

The international crisis of the COVID pandemic has added yet another layer of challenges to parents and guardians of exceptional children. Schools and childcare facilities are no longer operating, schedules have been disrupted and children are missing out on their usual social interactions and routines. I know that, at our house, both of my children have struggled to come to terms with a new normal, and so have I. My son, in particular, misses his regular trips to playgroup, the museum and the beach. I hear it in his conversations, see it in his behaviour and feel it in my heart.

In an effort to help other parents and guardians flesh out a new normal, I've decided to share a daily routine specifically geared toward the (very) active child. Consider this your ticket to survival.

Created by a Mom Who "Gets It"

This daily schedule is different from any other in that it provides ample time for things like gym time, outdoor play and focused and varied activities. This is not by accident! No, this schedule was made by a mother of a child who has been diagnosed with ADHD, one who has an education in psychology and who understands that, by the 1:00 pm mark,the person who is tired and ready for a nap is you! In fact, this schedule was deliberately designed so that, by bedtime, your child will be physically tired, mentally satisfied and ready (and willing!) for a good nights sleep. And we all could use a little more of that.

Feeling Check-In

You'll also notice something else that makes this daily schedule a unique one. We all know that self-regulation can be a difficult skill to master for children who are extremely active. Indeed, the skill of self-perception and self-reflexivity, or the ability to stop and look inward in order to asses one's own needs and emotions can be extremely challenging for a child who won't even stop to have a snack when their stomach is crying out for food. This is the very reason why I included three "feeling check-ins" during the day.

These feeling check-ins are meant as just that, a chance for you, the caregiver, to check in with your child to assess their emotional state.

I have included these feeling check-ins at points during the day when I believe that your child will be the most willing to express his or her feelings, namely, when they are sitting down and while they are busying their hands with eating. Ideally, a feeling check-in can be as simple as a directed question of "How are you feeling right now?". If your child struggles with putting words to feelings, having a pictorial feeling chart nearby can be extremely helpful and can bring a tactile experience to the check-in. You can find one at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Getting Them Moving

You will also notice another stark difference in our active little schedule: the sheer amount of gross motor play and outdoor time. Yup, that's a lot of time to move your body! This is essential for children who struggle with hyperactivity and impulsivity. They must have an opportunity to get it all out and those opportunities have to be frequent.

You'll see that the majority of my family's mornings are encompassed by gross motor activities and full body movement, from time in the family gym to outdoor, nature time.

This doesn't have to be complicated. For example, we designate 8:30 am to 9:30 am every day to "gym time". For us, this means revving up the treadmill, taking out the free weights and working out alongside our children. Yes, my child uses a treadmill...and free weights! However, if you do not have access to gym equipment, there are tons of opportunities to incorporate gross motor activities at home and on a budget. YouTube is an excellent resource to find child friendly exercise routines. Pinterest houses so many amazing indoor obstacle course ideals that would make any child feel the excitement of moving their bodies.

The goals is to be active, to learn to move in different ways and to appreciate what our bodies can do.

Outdoor time is another central piece of the puzzle when raising an exceptionally active child. Nature grounds us, provides a myriad of learning opportunities and is a central player in cultivating a healthy kid. Our family engages in a ton of outdoor activities from playing on our backyard play structure, to climbing trees, to participating in scavenger hunts or to just going for a run. If you don't have access to a backyard, something as simple as taking a stroll (or, let's be honest, a run) through a field can be liberating. During our time outside, I find ways of engaging my kids in the traditional "indoor" activities that my children find challenging. For example, while my son may not enjoy sitting still in a circle and singing songs at playgroup, he loves to sit on a stump by a camp fire and tell stories. It is the same activity, he is learning the same skills (language development, cooperation, turn taking self-regulation) but the environment has been tailored in order to meet his needs as an active child.

Kinesthetic (Hands-On) Learning Activity

The last main different you'll notice in our schedule is the attention that is paid to the "planned, hand's on daily activity". Before social isolation, my children's educational appetite was satisfied with trips to museums, libraries and farms. Today, my kids crave the same intellectual stimulation and, of course, they crave variety. This means that I have been tasked with homeschooling both of my kids for two hours a day in a more traditional sense, a task that (nerd alert!) makes me extremely excited.

Child-led and interest-driven, I pre-design an activity for my kids to participate in from Monday to Friday. From science experiments to baking activities to puzzle building, I make sure that my kids are engrossed in an activity that allows them to learn something new while practicing their fine motor skills, communication skills and creative thinking.

I love the family time that it affords us and the kids look forward to what is in store for them every day. Oh, and don't worry, I'll be sharing lots of my early childhood activities right here on the blog, which means more support for you!

So that's it, this is how I survive my days as a full-time, single (80% of the time, my husband is a shift worker) caregiver of two exceptionally active little people who are currently stuck at home! If you have any questions about this schedule, or just need to reach out, feel free to e-mail me at, or send me a message on Instagram @anastasiamachan or Facebook @anastasiamariemachan.

Remember...we are in this together!

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