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Teaching Your Kids Time Management

Pile of stopwatches graphicTime management skills can lead to having more free time, allow you to take greater advantage of learning opportunities, lower stress levels, increase focus, and ultimately achieve greater success in life. Each benefit of time management can improve another aspect of your life. Listed below are tips on how you can teach your child time management skills from the article, “Teaching Your Kids Time Management” by VeryWellFamily. 

  • Learning time management should be fun for kids. Use crayons to color your own calendars. Add stickers to mark special days. 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, putting on their shoes or getting their backpacks ready for school tomorrow. The more fun you make time management for your kids, the easier it will be to get them to understand time’s importance and how to manage that constantly ticking clock.

  • Of course, you can teach teens time management skills too. But the earlier you start, the better for them and the easier your days will be. Your preschoolers can learn through small tasks completed in blocks of time, such as putting on their clothes or cleaning up their toys. Your school-age children can begin with set start and end times they need to complete their homework and simple age-appropriate chores around the house.

  • Even children who know how to tell time do not necessarily know how to measure time. Help them out by setting a timer during a block of time when they are supposed to be completing a task. Keep a clock close by and give them a verbal countdown as the minutes tick by so they can begin getting an internal feel for these time segments. You’re not trying to teach your kids to live by the clock. Your goal is simply to help them understand what an hour, 15 minutes or even 5 minutes feels like.

  • Family calendars are the roadmap to everyone in your house’s commitments. The whole family should be involved in creating the one document that keeps all of you on track. Banner paper is perfect for family calendars because it can be drawn on, colored on or painted on. Make it a family art activity so that everyone can learn who has what commitments on which days. Color-code your calendar so that every person has their own color for their schedule. This simple activity helps children see days at a time in one place so they can begin to understand what goes into keeping your family on schedule. Another bonus is you can use your planning activity to make the most of family time together.  

  • In addition to creating a family calendar, each child should have his own calendar too. That way, he can have his own schedule to keep in his room that’s more detailed for his personal needs than the family calendar. Break this calendar down by tasks for the day or week. Encourage your kids to use their personal calendar to add new tasks and mark off completed ones too. This can be everything from what it takes to get ready for a soccer game to what projects he needs to complete before the science fair.

  • As your kids are just beginning to learn about time management, stay on task. When time’s up, move on to what’s next on your schedule no matter how involved they are in that current task. Straying even a few minutes away from the schedule can throw kids off. Stick to your schedule, especially in those early days and weeks of learning about time management.

  • Do your entire family a favor and don’t overschedule your kids. Instead of learning about time management the right way, all they feel is a constant go, go, go that has them craving a few minutes of downtime. Over scheduling throws their clock off and yours too. Try to avoid it so all of you can get a better handle on time management.

  • Making a schedule and sticking to it is important. Part of that schedule should include free time. Those blocks of time to do nothing are great moments in learning time management. Solo playtime can be fun and unstructured but it can also have a start and end time when your kids are trying to grasp the basics of managing their time. This also helps them learn that time management isn’t all about getting ready to go somewhere or finishing up a structured activity on time. Great time management also means you have moments to play.

  • From apps to colorful magnetic calendars, add kid-friendly time management tools to your lineup. The key is to use visuals and techniques that relate to your kids. Only you will know what works best with each of your child’s learning styles. Apps can appeal to kids who love technology. Magnetic calendars for kids let your kids visually plan their days with colorful magnets for everything from sports practices to holidays. You can always get creative and make your own time management tools to work for your family’s unique schedule too. 

  • Be creative with your rewards. Sure, you can opt to give your kids time playing a video game as a reward. Even better, make it a family rewards. A week of following that study schedule could equal a family night at the movies. Younger kids can focus on rewards in shorter time periods, such as playing a board game together for completing three or four goals on his schedule. The point is to turn those time management rewards into time well spent with your family as a result. 

  • Depending on age, most children do not see the big picture of priorities. Their priorities are generally on the weekly, daily, or even hourly scale. Help your kids organize their day using a first, next, last method. Kids should think of what comes first in their day, such as brushing their teeth. Then they can move to what needs to come next, like having their school books ready in the morning and completing homework before bed. Finally, they should plan what should come last in the day. They can brush their teeth before bed and lay out their clothes for tomorrow. Helping your kids prioritize their day is something they can use throughout their life and will help them get the most important tasks done daily and weekly while setting each one up to complete long-term goals as well. Start small with daily priorities before moving to weekly and monthly priorities. You’ll instantly set your kids up for success and soon have children who are masters of time management.