As children grow up, it’s inevitable they’ll become independent managers of their time and schedule. However, time management skills are only briefly covered in the curriculum, with some schools failing completely to teach children how to manage their busy workload. Not only are time management skills important for a child to be successful at school but will also be crucial throughout their adult life. Here’s some ways you can teach your kids how to manage their time efficiently and effectively.
Provide Time Management Tools
To effectively manage time, it’s important that your child has all the right tools to hand. These include clocks, watches, timers, calendars, planners and a quiet area to study in. Encourage your child to make notes of everything in their calendars or planners, whether this is homework, a test, an exam or even social activities with friends. By doing so, it will help them see where they have free time and where they don’t. We guarantee that after a few weeks of doing this it will become second nature to them.
Tip: For younger kids, planners will probably be most effective. For teens, a calendar on their computer that syncs up with their mobile phone will be a convenient and trendy choice.
Make Time Management Fun
Learning time management should be fun for kids. Try using highlighters to colour code calendars or add stickers to mark special days. You could even make it a game to see who can complete simple tasks around the house that usually take up a lot of time, such as brushing their teeth or getting their backpacks ready for school.
Show Your Kids How to Measure Time
Even children who know how to tell the time don't necessarily know how to measure time. Help them out by setting a timer during a block of time when they're supposed to be completing a task. Keep a clock close by and give them a verbal warning after 5 minutes so they can start getting an internal feel for these time segments. Your goal is to help them understand what half an hour or even five minutes actually feels like.
It’s important to help your child schedule in specific time for homework and studying. Often kids think that not being at school means that they can relax, see friends and don’t have to worry about anything else. Start by breaking down projects into pieces of work that they can fit into 30- 60 minute blocks of time, and schedule these into their planner or family calendar. The sooner they get used to mapping out this time the better!
Schedule Free Time
At the same time as scheduling homework and study time, it’s also important to plan in your kids’ free time for fun and social activities. Doing this also helps them learn that time management isn't all about doing chores or school work- being organised also means you can have moments to relax, play and have fun.
Self-discipline is an important life skill and the earlier it’s learnt the better. Help your kids improve self-discipline by giving them the responsibility of managing their own assignments and projects. Letting your child experience the consequences of mismanaging their time will serve as a valuable learning tool and experience.
Help Establish Daily Priorities
Helping your kids prioritise their day is something they’ll be able to use throughout life. Not only will being able to establish daily priorities help them get the most important tasks done but sets your kids up for success with long term goals too!