How- to Improve time management in kids (11 Tips)
Improve time management: It is 6:30 AM and the school bus will arrive in an hour’s time. Your kid is sleeping peacefully and showing no signs of waking up. The milk is on the cooktop and breakfast is yet to be done.
You wake your kid and ask her to brush her teeth and do her morning chores. You go to attend to the kitchen. 15 minutes later you come back to your kids’ room only to find your kid still sleeping.
This time you raise your voice a bit. Get your kid to get up and make sure she goes to the bathroom to get ready. And 15 minutes later you find your kid still not ready and sitting idly in the chair.
You find out your kid is waiting for her uniform. You get the uniform and ask her to get ready and come for breakfast and come for breakfast.
Another 15 minutes gone by and you still have, and you kid still has not appeared for breakfast you go to find out why.
You find your kid playing with her brother. With frustration, you almost grab her and get her to the breakfast table.
Your stuff food into her mouth, books into her bag, snacks into her lunch box, shoes on to her legs. All at the same time.
You rush out run to the bus stop just to find your bus leaving the stop. You frantically scream and manage to get the attention of the
helper who makes the bus driver stop the bus for your kid.
Can you relate to this?
- Importance and benefits of time management
- 11 Tips to improve time management in kids
- Important Note to Parents
Time management cannot be explained without emphasizing the importance of time itself. Just think about it, suppose you are 30 years old, if you slept on average 8 hours a day. You have just spent approximately 10 years on sleep alone.
This is just sleeping, what about other useless tasks you spend your time on? Sometimes the biggest mistake you may make in life is thinking that “there is enough time”.
Time is free yet priceless, you cannot own it, but you can use it, and when it is gone you can never get it back.
So, this does not mean that with every passing minute you need to be conscious of what you or your child are doing. And make optimal use of Time. But it means that you need to effectively manage time and teach our children to do so. So that the quality of their life increases.
Time management is one of the best habits you can teach your child.
This is something that a typical school would not teach. But would insist on their students to follow through timetables and schedules.
So, what is the value of Time management? why should your child follow it? How to Improve time management?
Importance and benefits of time management
Your child’s life will eventually depend on time management. Today the greatest single problem that people have is “time poverty”.
Working people have so much work to do and so little time to spend on their personal lives. Most people will feel overwhelmed with responsibilities and activities.
Time is the most important resource anyone would have but some take it for granted, especially our little kids. This is something that should be changed in every household.
Time management for kids should be something that must be taught within your household. It will be better if the parents themselves followed good practices of time management. Because most children learn from their parent’s behavior.
Here are some benefits obtained from proper time management.
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- It helps to stay motivated and avoid procrastination
- Accomplishing more with very little effort – Imagine running a mile with 1-minute breaks, this will take you much time and make you feel exhausted at the end.
11 Tips to improve time management in kids
Management of time simply does not exist. Because time is not something that is under our control. Time simply passes along.
As kids today are loaded with schoolwork, they hardly have some time for themselves. Childhood is not a period where any child should be stressed or anxious.
As a parent, it is your duty to make them feel relaxed even though they have tons of homework to do. So, let us discuss some important ways on how to manage and teach time management for your children.
In most of the families in schoolwork is what is considered upmost priority. But as much schoolwork is important it is equally important that the kid gets time to play.
The benefits of play are numerous, and it must be a priority for the child. Apart from this other non-negotiable priority are time for eating, time for sleeping, time to observe personal hygiene. They should overall have a higher priority in your kid’s list of tasks for your kid’s health and wellbeing.
Have a routine schedule chart
There are broadly 2 types of days in a kid’s life. Weekdays (School days), Holidays (non-school days)
While there might be some common activities like sleep schedule, eating schedule and personal hygiene schedule. However, extracurricular activities and study schedules can differ between these days.
But when this is clearly spelt out and put up in a chart paper. Preferably pictorially in a child’s room. It is easy for your child to refer and know what they must do.
I had made a chart with a pictorial representation of a Clock face against scheduled activity. Pasted this chart under the wall Clock in my kids’ room.
This helped my kid match the hands of the wall clock to the hands the picture I drew for them in the chart.
Also, kids like it when the chart is to their eye level where they can touch and point to activities.
Involve kids to create weekly calendars
The difference between the above point and this point is that.
The point above mentions a day schedule. Where is this is more of a weekly timetable.
In the day schedule you can allocate time say between 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM for hobby classes. But in the weekly schedule you need to mention which class they will go to on which day.
When you do this along with your child you are not only getting your child’s by into the activities. You are making them responsible for the delivery of what they have agreed to. This ownership motivates the child to follow the schedule they have helped in creating.
In the weekly schedule calendar that I had made for my kids, I had also included the rewards that they would get when they follow it. A picture of a chocolate bar, or a picture of TV time, or a dinner outside, or a visit to the beach.
In this way the kids could visualise what they would get when they follow as per schedule.
Give them goals and then reward them
Having goals assigned to your children can make them more productive and this can lead them to get more work done in a short period. But this should be coupled with a reward and you will see improve time management.
For example: Set a goal for them to finish their homework as soon as they return from school. Reward them by giving them uninterrupted play time. Or watching a cartoon etc.
This reward will motivate them to finish whatever the work they have been given.
As mentioned above I had made weekly calendars with reward already drawn into the calendar. I had also noticed that when rewards were given in intervals of week or more. The kids were losing motivation to strive for the reward.
So, I had incorporated rewards every 2 to 3 days once starting from simple rewards such as toffees or candies too much more lucrative ones such as all-day play. picnic and other activities that that kids thoroughly enjoy.
Have blank schedules
It is important that we have some blank slots in the kid’s schedule. Blank slots do not mean that it is a time waste.
In fact, you would be surprised to know that in these periods, where kids can get bored is when they learn much much more.
I had outlined the numerous benefits of boredom that our kids will reap when they are bored. I sincerely urge you to read it so that you appreciate the importance of blank schedules.
Record their time
There is a saying “What is measured will be managed”. So, you must keep track of what your child does if you wish to improve time management in your kid. This ranges from the hours he/she sleeps to the time he/she spends in their shower.
At the end of the day analyze how they spend their time and note the least important things they waste their time on. Again, spending 9 hours of sleep is not a waste of time.
As a parent, you must be able to distinguish between what is important and what is not for your child’s health and happiness.
After a thorough inspection of their time frame, you can decide what should be given a top priority by making a to-do list for your child.
Help kids to plan.
When I started off in this journey to teach time management for my children. I put in a lot of effort creating the chart’s and calendars.
My kids were super excited, and they worked with me and took this whole thing as a project.
They assured that from the next day onwards it is going to be a whole new beautiful world.
Then the week that followed. I did see my children try but I also saw that they were failing. Specially my daughter was starting to take the missing of schedules very seriously and started stressing out on the schedule and the calendar.
With a little over half an hour with her trying to understand what she was going through. And she and I put together simple way how she can achieve it. In adult world we call it reverse engineering.
She had to be at her bus stop by 7:45 Am and so to achieve this we started working backword and arrived at what time to wake up. This simple exercise where I taught her how to plan went in a long way in our morning routines.
We as adult sometimes assume that very simple things are simple for kids too. But this was a learning for me also. Since what I felt was a “no brainer” activity was something she really had to be taught.
Also, it is an effective idea to sit with your kid before bedtime and discuss what they must do the next day. This will prevent them from forgetting any important tasks. This can be done even every weekend by planning their upcoming week. And slowly this will improving time management.
Plan meals ahead and have fixed family mealtime
Eating can take a lot of time and deciding what to eat may take more time. Scheduling what your child eats for the week can save you up to one hour every day. Make sure to write what you are going to cook for the week.
Also ensure that there is at least one fixed time set for a family meal. Stick to the time. This not only helps your child plan their day better but for all the family members.
When the child sees their parents and siblings adhere to the time schedule it is less likely that the child will not learn to adhere to it also and improving time management.
Do not multitask
Multitasking refers to a person who engages in more than one task at the same time. Mothers can be professionals at this, but this is not something that your child should practice.
Multi-tasking is not that efficient and does not save time. It will lower the quality of the work your child does and slow them further.
When multitasking their attention will be divided causing the brain to switch focus at higher rates. Ultimately your child will lose his/her ability to concentrate and think creatively in the long run.
Block the distractions
Children can easily be distracted. This causes their focus and concentration to be lost. Turn off that screen and keep your phone out of their reach.
Build an environment where they are not distracted. Distraction can spiral them into a path of low productivity and frustration. Preventing them will benefit them immensely.
Electronic gadgets are one of the major culprits for mismanagement in time. We ourselves lose count of time when we look at a WhatsApp, social media or even online movies. It is foolish to assume that our kids can handle things better. So, it is wise to add into your schedule a time for electronic items engagement.
Check in with your kids and mentor them
Just because you have made in a schedule. Or a weekly plan. Or that you have involved them in the activity, and they have agreed to it. Does not mean that it must be edged in stone.
Please keep revisiting them. Especially in the initial days as often as possible. By taking into consideration practical difficulties your child is facing. Or their concerns that they are highlighting to you.
Discuss their concerns and come up with common solutions and move forward. This not only will ease the stress that they will be facing. But also help them in honing their problem-solving skills.
Video Time: Expert Opinion about teaching time management to kids
Important Note to parents
Time management, sticking to schedule, when done forcefully can create a lot of stress and anxiety in the child rather than improve time management. The child will not only hate following schedule but will also form and aversion towards the activities. This can also start becoming triggers for temper tantrums, or anxiety related issues.
So, teaching time management must be a little bit of fun and light. I understand it is easier said than done. But with all the charts, the colours, the schedules, the rewards, the pictures make it more appealing for the child to follow.
This coupled with your nurturing, guidance and support your kid will soon start accepting embracing and following the schedules outline. And once the River starts coming in it access a positive reinforcement for the kid. It helps the kid feel empowered and build self confidence in the child.
Start teaching your children as early as possible. In that way the child has more time to understand, appreciate and practice the concepts. There by having the foundation of time management skill laid much stronger.
Take it slow
By jamming everything in a schedule might make your child feel overwhelmed. After all, children love to play and feel satisfied.
Time management should not be something which suck all the fun out of life. And kills spontaneity.
Sleep, play, and healthy food should be the priority in whatever schedule you make. This will lead to a better state of mental and physical health thus making the child more efficient academically.
Time management may not seem something important in a child’s life. But, laying that foundation of managing their time efficiently will take your child a long way.
Most successful are people with precise time management. Seeing a child successful and worry-free is every parent’s dream.
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