“Either run the day or the day runs you.”
– Jim Rohn
That’s true for everyone, a child or an adult. Time management is a life skill that offers multiple benefits, and it is better when learned early in life. It not only helps finish the task at hand but also reduces last moment stress. Children tend to have a lot on their plate, may it be school, sports, extracurricular activities, or playtime. Each part of their life is vital in their development. Dividing their activities and providing a balance to their schedule helps them to learn time management.
Although they may seem too young to understand the concept of time management, there are ways to help them learn and incorporate it into their routine. If you are wondering how to, read this post for tips on teaching time management for kids.
Importance Of Time Management
Time management is a skill, when learned, teaches discipline and responsibility. Some other benefits for children include the following.
- 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, a constant practice could help them. 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.
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 and gratification. You can ask your child to do simple activities, such as a house chore or even a play date. Intimating them prior provides them ample time to prepare for any non-favorite activities. This way, children learn 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
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. 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
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 learn prioritizing 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 material as markers.
10. Set a bedtime
A consistent bedtime teaches them to analyze 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
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.
13. Keep a study-zone
A proper study place helps children to correlate the space with educational tasks. Prepare a study-zone away from all distractions so that they can 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.
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. The sooner you start it, the better it would 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 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
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.
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
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.
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.
2. K. Baranek; The Effect of Rewards and Motivation on Student Achievement; Grand Valley State University (1996)
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