Is your child always running late or procrastinating doing work? Time management skills are one of the more difficult competencies to learn. Even adults can attest that they lose track of time or often feel rushed. How can you help your child learn time management skills (and maybe help yourself at the same time?)
Do a Time Assessment
Depending upon the age of your child, try a little experiment to see how long s/he believes a task will take and then compare it to how long it actually takes. For example, make a guesstimate how long it takes to do normal tasks like getting ready for school, doing homework, chores, and the nighttime routine. Then compare the amount of time you thought it would take to the time it actually takes. This time assessment can help your child become aware of the relativity of time.
Establish a Plan
Does your child have activities or sports after school as well as homework, or maybe a job? Help them establish a plan on how the time will work out. For example, If school gets out at 2:30 pm and there is an average of an hour of homework, a two-hour sports practice, and dinner to account for, how will your child prioritize and get it all done? Some families create a daily or weekly planner so everyone knows what days there are activities. Take a close look at the times and have your child map out how it will all fit in. The more they are involved in the discussion the better they will be at carrying out the plan.
Seems like we are all busy in our society, so talk with your child about prioritizing what they need to do versus what they want to do. If your child needs to do homework, practice the violin, clean their room and still wants to have time to play on electronics then they will need to prioritize. Talk to your child about what should come first, second and so on.
Talk About Stress
We all know that feeling when we are running late or feel panicked that we forgot something. Talk to your child about what it feels like when they feel stressed because they did not plan well or are being rushed. How could this change if they start earlier or prioritize their time? For example, if they woke up 10 minutes earlier would the morning routine be less chaotic. Or perhaps getting homework done before dinner would leave time for something they want to do like games or video game time before bedtime.
Be a Role Model
Our children look to us for clues on how to act and plan. It can be a struggle, but be a good role model in planning your time. Talk to your child about why you do certain tasks at a certain time. Keep the conversation going since time management will look different at each stage of schooling and in life.
Do you have time management tricks you use? Tell us about them and share your expertise.