Trying to teach your kids time management can be a difficult task. We have the tools to help you face the challenge and be successful!
Tips to Teach Your Kids Time Management
My husband spent several years in the military and if you are not 10 min early, you are late! That was one of the time skills he taught our children. Our adult children even live up to it now, usually.
Teaching kids time management can be difficult, especially if you are not very good at it yourself. But it is one of those skills that when mastered, it actually gives you more freedom.
Here are 6 tips for helping kids understand how to manage their time.
Create a Daily Schedule
There is a lot of information out there about overscheduling your child. What we forget to talk about is how to build them a schedule that works for them.
Putting all their tasks on paper helps them learn time management. Talk about what time they wake up and what time they need to leave for school. Breakfast, getting dressed, brushing their teeth and hair, making lunch, it all takes time.
For younger children, you can use pictures on their schedule. Help them estimate how much time each task might take them and set up a reasonable wake-up time.
My daughter is very efficient at getting ready for the day. She can do it in 30 minutes, easy. My son, on the other hand, he likes to take his time. Keep in mind the personalities of your children. Some are morning people, while others may not be.
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Once you have mastered the morning hours, add an after-school schedule. Doing it all at once can be overwhelming.
When we are prepared for things, it really helps with managing our time. Taking a shower at night and laying out your clothes saves you time in the morning. Rushing to get somewhere is not fun for anyone.
Even a toddler can pick out their clothes the night before so they are ready in the morning. Having your toddler pick out snacks for park day and package them up the night before helps them learn to be prepared for what is to going to happen.
Packing for vacations the day before and making sure the car is ready to go is wonderful (especially for mom). This saves time and keeps things on time on travel day. I know I’m always trying to grab lastminute things as we are walking out the door, but at least I’m not trying to get EVERYTHING all together while the normal packing is happening. There are endless ways to teach your children to be prepared to manage time.
This one is good for children that are a bit older. Dinner is one of those areas where time management is very important. Usually, dinner involves making more than one item. You need to figure out how long each item takes. Then figure out if you can coordinate them to all finish at the same time.
First, let your child plan the menu (or have them choose an item that you already have all the ingredients for from our weekly meal plan). They will likely pick something they will actually eat. When it is time to start making dinner sit down and read through the directions. Following directions is an excellent way to teach time management. We lose a lot of time just trying to figure things out for ourselves. Talk about how long each item will take to make. Then figure out how to get it all done.
Having a scheduled dinner time will help keep them on track. This is a great way to teach and simulate how other tasks in their lives will have expected deadlines and having a certain amount of time to accomplish something.
Create a Study Zone
When it is time to do homework, help get them organized. A nice quiet space with no distractions helps focus and use time wisely.
There is also a lot of time wasted being overwhelmed. Getting organized will help tremendously.
Write down what assignments need to be done and in order to complete them. Lists are a wonderful way to teach time management. It is satisfying to check things off a list and helps stay focused on the task.
The study zone should not include electronic devices unless they are necessary for homework. Cell phones are a great way to waste time!
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Manage Sleep for Top Performance
Sleep may sound like a waste of time, but it is so important! Small children usually fight bedtime. Help them to understand why it is important to get a good amount of sleep. Try some of these tips to help with a smooth bedtime. When they get a good night sleep, they are happy and can play harder.
RELATED ARTICLE: How to Establish a Toddler Bedtime Routine that Works!
Teens are notorious for getting less sleep than they need. Even teenagers need a bedtime and a routine. Turing off all electronics at least a half an hour before bed is important for healthy sleep habits. This can be worked into the schedule you have created to help hem manage time.
Tell them why it is important to get their sleep. A lot of times as parents, we assume that our children just know certain things. Helping them understand is important for their wellbeing.
They will do better in school and function better as a friend. They will FEEL better and be able to manage their time more efficiently.
Use a Timer
There are some tasks that need to be timed, literally. Making dinner (as mentioned above) is one of those tasks. Even homework can fall into this category! You can only focus on homework for so long before you start to glaze over. Setting a timer to help complete tasks, or encourage breaks helps manage time. My husband works in 20-minute increments. This is his tactic to keep a fresh mind and stay energized.
Younger children can really benefit from the use of a timer. It can be used as a motivation tool. If they can clean their room before the timer dings, they can earn a reward. (Go here for chore ideas for kids!) This can help them focus and manage their time to get the job done. There are many timer apps you can use. Visual timers, like an egg or sand timer, work well with young children. They can actually see the time passing.
In the end, none of these are really going to work if you do not practice time management yourself. The best way a parent can teach just about anything is by example. When your children see you getting ready in time, they will follow suit. If you are on time for events, parties and even movies they will learn that it is important. Keeping track of your own schedule and tasks will show them how to do it themselves. Always be the person you want your children to be.
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What are some things you do to help teach your kids time management skills? Tell us in the comments!
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Bridget is on of our interns currently finishing up a degree in Marriage and Family Studies. With 8 children and 1 grandchild, she strives to keep her family happy and healthy. She loves to read and if there is an opportunity for it, you will find her at the beach!