Time Management : 10 Easy Steps to Teach Kids this Important Skill5 min read
Kids and the concept of time don’t really go well together. Have you found yourself in a hurry to leave the house but your kid seems to be walking around like you have all the time in the world? Ever had to ask your child to ‘get a move on’ and dash out the door but they think you’re crazy? Well, every parent has been there at some point. But you don’t have to be! Teaching kids the concept of time management is so important. Yes, it can get tricky, but it’s most definitely not impossible. Learning to value and manage their (and others’) time will not only teach kids valuable lessons but also keep your sanity intact!
Here are a few super easy steps to help you teach your child time management skills:
Yes, it’s never too late to teach your child the concept of time and time management skills, but the earlier you start, the better for both of you! You can encourage your kid to do age-appropriate tasks and chores around the house in a designated time period. Teach them to do small tasks in short blocks of time – like brushing their teeth, clearing their room, putting on clothes and so on. For older children, you can set start and end times to finish homework and/or studying a few topics.
Show your child how to measure time
Your child may know how to tell the time, but does he know how to measure it? This is what you need to teach him. You can set a timer for when your child is supposed to be completing a particular task. Keeping a clock close by will help. Give your child a verbal indication of the minutes that are passing by as he works on the given task. This exercise will help your child to internalize and understand what 5 or 10 minutes really feel like. So, the next time you give your child an estimated time for when y’all have to leave the house, he’ll know exactly how long he has to get ready and walk out the door.
Make it fun
Learning time management doesn’t have to be boring or an “ugh”. Make it fun for your kids! Let them use crayons to color their calendars. Use stickers and post-its to mark special days and holidays. Introduce various games and activities, like seeing who finishes a specific task faster. The more fun you make with time management, the more your kids will want to engage and cooperate with you. They will also learn how to effectively manage every minute that they have.
Family calendars are awesome. They’re basically like the roadmap of everyone’s schedules and commitments. You can turn to create family calendars into a fun family activity. This will not only give you a great bonding session, but everyone in the family will know each other’s commitments on various days. Assign one color to every family member.
Apart from family calendars, your kid should also have his own personal calendar. Let him have his own personal schedule to keep in his room that is more detailed. You can help your child to break it down weekly, daily and task-wise. Encourage him to mark off his calendar as he finishes certain tasks and chores.
It can get quite tempting to sign your kid up for every activity under the sun. Don’t do it! When parents try to get their kids to participate in almost every activity in school and outside school, they end up overscheduling not just the kids but also the whole family. It can get to a point where every single day of the week is fully packed with no time to breathe or rest. Overscheduling will make your kids always be on the go without getting any downtime or playtime. This is seriously detrimental to teaching your kids about time management. Do yourself and your whole family a huge favor and please don’t overschedule your children.
Help your child to establish daily priorities
Explaining the meaning and importance of setting priorities is also a part and parcel of learning time management. Teach your kids to prioritize things daily as first, next and last. Remember that your kids aren’t thinking about the big picture like you are, most of the time they’re just thinking about the next hour. Help them to organize their day and week using this prioritizing method.
Use time management tools that are kid-friendly
Since you know your kid best, you will also know what learning methods will appeal to him the most. Use techniques and visuals that your child will relate to. This will help him to be more interested in learning all about time management. You can either use colorful magnets, crayons, sticky notes, apps or make your own time management tools. Get creative!
Don’t forget to schedule a free time!
Other than scheduling study time and extracurricular activities, don’t forget to add in free time too. Setting aside blocks of time to do absolutely nothing is a very important part of learning time management. Some time off for your child to rest, play, or do anything else is necessary when he is just beginning to learn how to manage his time.
Try to stay on task
When you have time management schedules and plans in place, try to follow them as much as possible. Some days your kids might want a few extra minutes of playtime or you may want them to spend some more time studying. However, when your child is just starting to understand, grasp and learn the concept of time management, avoid giving in to these temptations. If you allow them to stray from their schedule (even for a few minutes) they won’t really take it seriously. Stick to the decided schedule especially in the beginning; this will help to not throw your kids off.
Rewarding your child for good time management can be a really great motivator to continue on. Decide your rewards together as a family – it can be a daily reward, weekly reward and so on. You can introduce individual rewards like an extra hour of playing or family rewards like a movie night. Don’t hesitate to get creative with it. Kids will look forward to following schedules and keeping within their time slots to earn more rewards.