25 Simple Ways To Teach Time Management For Kids

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Children are restless and spend all their day engaging in various activities, including playing, studying, watching movies, or just being hooked on their screens. Hence, teaching time management for kids is essential. It is a useful skill that can benefit you in a big way, and it is better to learn early in life. Learning and practicing the skill can help them understand the value of time and set their priorities right. Also, it helps finish any task in time and reduces last-minute stress. Each phase of a child’s life is crucial in their development. Hence, dividing their activities and balancing their schedules helps them master time management skills. There are many ways to help children learn and incorporate time management into their routine. Read through this post for tips on teaching time management.

In This Article

Importance Of Time Management

Time management for kids

Image: IStock

Time management is a skill, when learned, teaches discipline and responsibility. Some other benefits for children include the following (1).

  • Teaches them to divide the time as per the tasks
  • Helps prioritize tasks
  • Improves their analytical skills
  • Enables them to complete multiple tasks in a short period
  • Reduces work stress 

25 Tips To Teach Time Management For Kids

Organization and prioritization are essential for learning time management. Though these qualities are a bit difficult for children to learn, constant practice could help them develop these good habits. Here are some tips for teaching time management to kids. Try them all, and find out the ones that suit the most.

1. Talk about changing seasons

The first step in inculcating time management among children is to teach them what time is. It could be difficult to interpret time. Hence, the best way to teach them is to show a visual progression of time.

Explain to them about seasons and how the surroundings are affected during the change. You can ask them to observe and note down the growing phases of a tree or show the pictures. It will help them understand how time passes and how every season is important.

2. Teach them to estimate time

Planning a schedule requires action analysis, and one of the easiest ways to do this is to prepare a reflection schedule. Let your child practice their timetable for a day. Contribute 15 minutes at the end of each day to analyze the day’s activities. You can compare the time, work progress, and the result. Reflect any changes into the next day’s schedule and help your child improve their estimation capabilities.

protip_icon Quick tip
Have your child maintain a diary to record their daily schedule, mood, activities, work completion, achievements, and concerns. This will enable them to understand where and how they have utilized their time.

3. Help them create a schedule 

Observe how your child spends most of their time. Analyze how they are utilizing their day or wasting their valuable time playing video games or watching TV. Based on your observation, ask them to make a schedule by reserving time for studying, playing, outing, and other activities. Once a routine is set, they would follow it daily and make it a habit.

4. Make them set a routine 

Following a set routine teaches patience, self-control, and gratification. You can ask your child to do simple activities, such as a house chore or even a play date. Intimating them priorly provides them ample time to prepare for any non-favorite activities. Such routines teach children to be patient and become familiar with adjustments, thus learning to be proactive.

5. Explain to them about organizing stuff

Time management skills are intertwined with other activities, thus maintaining an organized surrounding plays a vital role. If your child is in the middle of a task and loses an important tool, it would delay the activity and affect the entire day’s schedule. Teach them to organize their stuff beforehand and reward them for completing the job. A tidy environment would also help them stay stress-free during the task.

6. Use a timer

Use a timer or hourglass to teach time management for kids

Image: IStock

To help your child learn the importance of time, ask them to finish activities during the planned time. The best way to do this is by maintaining a graphic, visual timer. You may also use a classic sand hourglass or anything that you think would reflect a running time. This may help improve their focus and concentration too. Reward them with their favorite activity or a star on successful completion.

7. Let them know the consequences 

Taking responsibility for an action is a vital part of time management. Otherwise, it could lead to failed or delayed tasks, impacting the other activities. You can ask them to be responsible by handing over a job, and then explain what would be the consequences if they fail. Also, help them know what can be done to improve the skills.

8. Set long-term goals 

Goal-setting is an important skill to teach kids in order to help them develop effective time management habits. When you give them long-term projects, they tend to analyze the pre-preparatory steps. Help your child break the big task into multiple little tasks and add them to their schedule as required. It makes the ultimate task easier and also reduces the last-moment stress. Also, tiny steps offer much accuracy of the projects.

9. Help them prioritize tasks 

Assist them in planning the activities and creating their calendars based on the requirements. You can always help them when they’re stuck. Suggest them to plan their activities by analyzing their school schedule to prioritize school and personal life.

Few tasks require immediate action, such as doing homework or preparing for tests, while others can be done later. Let your child differentiate between both. You can help them do it by using creative materials as markers. Prioritizing the tasks by adding deadlines next to each task will help finish them on time. Setting deadlines and regularly reviewing progress with kids helps instill a sense of accountability and promotes better time management skills.

protip_icon Point to consider
Introducing your child to time management and productivity tools allows them to categorize tasks more effectively. You can easily make it at home using a whiteboard or reusable surface.

10. Set a bedtime 

A consistent bedtime teaches them to analyze and balance the amount of time they have each day to study, play, and get involved in other activities. It also teaches them to sleep and wake up early, which is one of the key factors in managing time.

11. Maintain regular meal time 

Just like regular bedtime, a consistency in mealtime is also essential. You can use the time for an entire family and talk about each other’s day. Your child gets to learn new things by listening to others. Furthermore, if unachieved tasks are discussed during dinner, your child can also learn the ways to cope and correct.

12. Establish gadget rules 

Set a policy at home regarding gadgets

Image: Shutterstock

Even though gadgets improve work efficiency, they can interfere with the daily routine when used continuously. Hence, set a policy at home regarding their usage. You can have a no-cell phone zone and time, too. However, you should also follow it with your children.

Kate, a mother of three, talks about how she maintains a technology-free environment in her home. She says, “In the screen time war I am in the trenches. I am a practitioner of the craft, with 3 test subjects that I need to prevent from turning into digital zombies. I have skin in the game. It’s my children. It is personal.

Describing how she created a special safe to keep phones in, Kate adds, “I designed a safe for smartphones as a tool for parents to manage screen time. I called my invention TechDetox Box. It physically separates children from phones, removing the temptation and the very possibility of unauthorized use. The phones are locked up while charging in a central location. Parents are in control (i).”

13. Keep a study-zone 

A proper study place helps children to correlate the space with educational tasks. The allocation of a study zone away from all distractions can help them complete their homework and projects on time. Also, keep necessary stationeries within reach.

14. Help them plan a checklist 

Write down the list of things to do on a paper and let them tick next to each completed task. You can help them plan a daily, weekly, and monthly checklist. Remember to reward them for completing all the tasks on their list since it can encourage them to do better the next time.

15. Understand their concern 

If they have a problem with the plans at any given time, let them know you are there to help them. Listen to their concerns and find solutions. Don’t force them for any task, and don’t be too strict so that your little ones are not stressed.

16. Make it fun

Children love to participate in fun-filled activities and try to give their best when performing exciting tasks. You can use these tricks and get them excited about their plans. Ask them to color their calendars or have a competition on who completes more tasks at the end of the day. They shall look forward to planning and learn the importance of time in a fun way.

protip_icon Research finds
Studies indicate that children provided with time skills training using a multimodal time-related intervention and time assistive devices showed an improvement in daily time management activities and time processing (5).

17. Start teaching at a young age 

Start teaching when your child is young, so they become self-sufficient by the time they want to move away from the house. Let them participate in age-appropriate chores so that they can manage their school and personal life. Create a structure for them so that they know what to expect. The sooner you start it, the better it will be.

18. Have a family calendar

Sit with the family at the beginning of the month and set everyone’s chores. Everyone will know their schedules, commitments, and plan their activities without hindering others’ plans. Ask your children to plan their entire month after deciding on all the important days. You can make this a monthly fun activity and get creative while preparing to make it a fun-time to get together with the entire family. This way children understand that even adults have to do chores they find boring.

19. Help them maintain consistency

Help them maintain consistency

Image: IStock

During the beginning of this practice, your child may find it difficult to stick to the plan. Help them maintain the schedule timings. It’s okay if they are not on point as they are trying their best. Eventually, they’ll get the hang of it and maintain time.

20. Use child-friendly time management tools 

Children may require tools that are easy to interpret. Visuals are much more appealing to them. If you can’t find such tools outside, sit down with your child and create one on your own. Analyze their schedule and find creative yet visual ways to make learning and managing time easy for them.

21. Avoid over-scheduling

Do not put too much on their plates. Over scheduling would increase stress, confuse them, and may result in failure. Give them some leisure time and observe your child. If they are not relaxed, you may have to look into their schedule and make appropriate changes. If children feel they are being pushed too much, they might begin to lose interest in the whole process.

22. Reward them

Motivate children with rewards. By appreciating and acknowledging their time management skill, you encourage them to do well during the next cycle (2). These rewards can be anything they like—some leisure time with friends, a favorite gift, or as small as their favorite chocolate. You can reward them once a week or when they complete all the tasks.

protip_icon Quick fact
Hearing words such as stop, no, or quit, can negatively impact the child’s perception of themselves. Rewards, on the other hand, help improve the child’s self-esteem and encourage parent-child bonding (6).

23. Include free time in schedules

It is essential to include free time in the schedule. It will help your child understand that apart from achieving and completing tasks, a work-free period allows them to relax. You can let them play, watch a movie, or do anything they like.

24. Coach, don’t manage 

When you coach them, you make them self-sufficient, and when you manage them, you imply to get the work done. By coaching, you can make your child responsible for their actions.

25. Add important information to calendars 

Add important information to calendars

Image: IStock

It could be tests, matches, or even personal tasks such as holidays, doctor’s appointments, or a family member’s birthday party. Ask them to look into their calendar a day ahead so that they can prioritize their tasks accordingly. Help them break it down into smaller tasks throughout the week until the time of completion.

Time Management Techniques For Students

Time management techniques can help children in all spheres of life. Here are some easy time management techniques for students.

  • Learn to say no to distractions such as joining a school council or after-school club. Though extracurricular activities are important, indulging in several activities at a time can be taxing.
  • Prioritize your tasks and finish them first. Working on important tasks at the end of the day may result in a poor-quality output and overwhelm you at the 11th hour.
  • Set reminders for tasks that you tend to forget often, such as submitting an assignment.
  • Find study buddies from your classmates who have a similar schedule and keep track of your tasks together. This makes study tasks much easier to complete than when done alone.
  • Allow flexibility in your schedule for unforeseen circumstances. Be patient and practical while scheduling your day or week. While sticking to the agenda is good, don’t be frustrated when you cannot do so.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. At what age does a child understand time?

A child begins to understand abstract concepts like time by age four (3). However, this may vary from child to child because children achieve developmental milestones at different paces.

2. Who defined time?

The Greek thinker Aristotle defined time as “A calculable measure of motion with respect to before and afterness”. This idea remained almost the same until the work of Einstein in the 20th century (4).

3. What are the consequences of poor time management skills in children?

Procrastination, poor academic scores and performance, erratic sleep patterns, unhealthy eating habits, increased stress, and lack of punctuality are some of the major consequences of poor time management skills in children.

4. Should I set specific time limits for my child’s daily activities and screen time?

You should set consistent limits on your child’s screen time. It means establishing specific time limits and allocating specific times in the day as screen-free. For example, set a rule for screens being off on school days, except when needed to do the homework. Keep mealtimes screen-free.

5. Why does my child struggle with time management?

Learning differences such as dyslexia in children make them struggle with managing time properly (7). For example, if your child has difficulty writing or struggles to cope with school demands, they will procrastinate and not manage time. Similarly, children with learning disabilities like ADHD have trouble with executive function and may face difficulty managing their time (7).

The ultimate task in any practice is to make a child understand the importance of time. You know you’ve done a good job when they learn to plan their activities. Don’t worry if they have trouble planning. Constant practice can make your child develop the life skill of time management. All you need to do is to assist, observe and be patient.

Infographic: Teaching Time Management The Play Way

Young children may find it challenging to understand the value of time and its management when explained in words. But, there will hardly be a child who will not want to learn through play, so teach time management to children with these simple games detailed in this infographic.

games that help learn time management for children (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • Time management is an important skill that kids should be taught early on.
  • Making a schedule, explaining the importance of organizing, and a few more tips to teaching children time management are given below.
  • Be a role model to your children, and they will learn from what you do rather than what you teach.

Time is precious, so let’s learn how to use it wisely! Join us for this fun and educational video about the importance of time and how to use it right!

Personal Experience: Source


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.

1. The Importance of Schedules and Routines; Head Start: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center; U. S. Department of Health & Human Services
2. K. Baranek; The Effect of Rewards and Motivation on Student Achievement; Grand Valley State University (1996)
3. The Growing Child: Preschool (4 to 5 Years); Stanford Children’s Hospital
4. Arrows of Time; Quanta Magazine
5. Birgitta Wennberg; Daily time management, participation, and time-related interventions for children, adolescents, and young adults with neurodevelopmental disorders; Linköping University (2019)
6. How to use rewards; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
7. Learning and thinking differences that cause trouble with time management; Understood.org
8. Time management for kids with LD; Kidswithld.org

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