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Creating an At Home Learning Schedule for Young Children

child learning at home with laptop remote | Dr. Roseann
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Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge

As we move from full virtual learning to hybrid learning that will likely still be part of the 2021-2022 school year, all parents need structure and routine for themselves and their children. Balancing home and work has been overwhelming and I have spent a lot of my time talking to parents and the press about balancing remote learning and work.At-home learning is difficult, but pre-K and early elementary-aged children need a lot more parental support than older kids and teens. While all children need routine, young children need others to create the routine for them and need hands-on, tactile ways of managing their routine. Although it might seem like a lot of up-front work for parents, getting the schedule and routine right for at-home learning can actually make the experience easier for everyone. 

Create a Daily Schedule 


For little kids, setting a weekly schedule won’t work. Their brains can only process one day at a time, or even one hour at a time. To keep your child on track, you need to create a schedule for each day of the week that your child is in “school.”

For those kids and teens where virtual learning is continuing in some way shape or form, you want to check out my virtual learning checklist for kids and if you have older kids, check out my virtual learning checklist for teens.

Use Bright Colors and Pictures


Since young children may not be able to read a schedule, you need to think like they do. Use a bright color for each activity or find a picture that represents each activity. If you can do both at the same time, go for it!

For example, you might make reading time “red” (r is for “reading” and “red”) and cut out a picture of a book. Paste the picture of the book to a red sticky note. This visual signals to your child that the color stands for reading and gives an image that is relatable as well. You can do this for any subjects, although not all will have a first letter that matches a color. 

Make It Hands-On


Little kids learn and remember things best when they can use their hands. A manipulable schedule does two things. First, children feel they have control over their actions. Second, they can see and touch their way through the day. Since children don’t have a good sense of time, checking off an activity gives them a way to see how many items are completed and how many they still need to do. 

There are a lot of ways to create a hands-on schedule. The easiest and cheapest way is to print out a daily list, slide it into a plastic sleeve, and mark off tasks with a dry erase marker. If you want to do something a little more durable, you can buy a magnetic whiteboard, attach your daily visuals to magnets, and let your child take them off the whiteboard as they complete the tasks. 

child playing with toys | Dr. Roseann

Include Playtime


Kids learn best through play, and if remote learning has an upside for everyone, it’s that you can give your child more time to play than might happen in a traditional classroom. That doesn’t mean more technology play time either. There is an impact of too much technology on your child’s brain and body, so it is important for parents to have healthy technology boundaries too. 

If possible, schedule times to play at reasonable intervals. Since most children lose focus after 15-20 minutes, try to schedule a “brain break” or physical activity that matches their ability to focus. 

Some kids have a hard time transitioning between activities, so keep that in mind when making the schedule. If you know that your child doesn’t move between activities easily, build that time into the plan. For example, if you have a playtime scheduled at 10 am, schedule a “transition time” at 9:57 am and set a timer for yourself. Then, make sure to schedule another 2-3 minute “transition time” at the end of playtime before heading back to schoolwork. 

child holding clock | Dr. Roseann

Use an Alarm Clock


It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that children will listen to a timer or alarm before they listen to their parents. Since you can set alarms on repeat, this can be a big help to you, since you don’t have to pay attention to the time as diligently. 

Set an alarm for the beginning and end of each scheduled activity, including transition times and playtimes. When the alarm goes off, it signals to your child that it’s time to change to a new activity. 

If your child has sensory issues, you can use a light-only no noise alarm clock to reduce noise pollution and still give your child the notice that they need to change tasks. 

Are you looking for help for your child’s or teen’s behavior? 


Boy, the world is stressful right now (and it has been for a long time!). Of course, you are worried about your child’s stress level! You want to see them SUCCEED and be confident. Your child may be struggling with focus, stress, mood, behavior, emotions, or socially and you aren’t sure what to do about it and you feel STUCK… Well, Dr. Roseann is here to show you how to GET UNSTUCK and cultivate success in small and big ways!

As a licensed therapist and certified psychologist, as well as a special needs mom herself, Dr. Roseann knows what it is like to search for ways to help your child’s attention, learning, and behavior and still see your child struggle. So, if you’ve gone down the Google MD and ineffective medication and therapy rabbit hole, it is time to get support from Dr. Ro who can help you help your child to be focused, calm, and feel good about themselves. 

Want to work with Dr. Roseann, so you can turn your child’s behavior around and GET UNSTUCK and CULTIVATE SUCCESS?


Join our Raising Successful Kids Community, where you get Dr. Roseann secrets to raising a successful child at school, home and in life regardless of your kid’s age or ability. For less than $1 a day, you get Dr. Ro, the foremost expert in the world on children’s mental health in your back pocket! Join a community of like-minded parents and get the secret sauce to cultivating confidence, independence, and success in your child in only the way that Dr. Ro can do!

You can get her books for parents and professionals, including: It’s Gonna Be OK™: Proven Ways to Improve Your Child’s Mental Health, Teletherapy Toolkit™ and Brain Under Attack: A Resource For Parents and Caregivers of Children With PANS, PANDAS, and Autoimmune Encephalopathy.

Want to work with Dr. Roseann personally?  She sees people at her Ridgefield, CT center using neurofeedback, biofeedback, and psychotherapy to turn behavior around, as well as does neurofeedback and coaching remotely.  She has also reached billions through her dozens of media appearances on her mission to, ‘Change the way we view and treat children’s mental health™.” 

The best way to find out if we can help you is to apply to work with us, so we know you are ready for the powerful change that lies ahead. 

Are you a professional who wants more training from Dr. Roseann? 


Sign up for her Professional Webinars and CE-Based Courses or purchase her book, Teletherapy Toolkit™: Therapist Handbook for Treating Children and Teens

If you are a business or organization that needs proactive guidance to support employee mental health or an organization looking for a brand representative, check out Dr. Roseann’s professional speaking page to see how we can work together. 

Dr. Roseann is a Children’s Mental Health Expert and Therapist who has been featured in/on hundreds of  media outlets including, CBS, NBC, FOX News, PIX11 NYC, The New York Times, The Washington Post,, Business Insider, USA Today, CNET, Marth Stewart, and PARENTS. FORBES called her, “A thought leader in children’s mental health.” 

She is the founder and director of The Global Institute of Children’s Mental Health and Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge. Dr. Roseann is a Board Certified Neurofeedback (BCN) Practitioner, a Board Member of the Northeast Region Biofeedback Society (NRBS), Certified Integrative Medicine Mental Health Provider (CMHIMP) and an Amen Clinic Certified Brain Health Coach.  She is also a member of The International Lyme Disease and Associated Disease Society (ILADS), The American Psychological Association (APA), Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) International Society for Neurofeedback and Research (ISNR) and The Association of Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB).

© Roseann-Capanna-Hodge, LLC 2021

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