3 Simple Ways to Teach Kids Time ManagementLeah Courtney
Time management is such an important skill. It’s one that doesn’t come, naturally, however. And we as parents can get really perturbed with our children when they don’t manage their time well. So how can you teach this important skill to your kids? And when should you begin.
Even when my children were very little, I made a point of talking to them about what we had planned for the day or for the week. This gradually turned into teaching them about organizing their days and weeks and managing their time well. Kids who are upper elementary aged and older can usually begin taking more and more responsibility for their time and can learn good time management.
3 Ways to teach time management to children
Teach kids to use a calendar
We use a family calendar. I actually have two- a digital calendar on Google that’s my primary calendar and a wall calendar that has places to write events for five different people. I think that family calendars are great. But teaching kids to use their own calendars can be a great way to teach kids time management.
Kids can use their own digital calendars. If they are old enough to use email, they can have access to a digital calendar such as Google calendar. But they can also be encouraged use a print calendar. This doesn’t have to be fancy. You can print free monthly calendars here. Teach kids to put their planned events on the calendar. I like to have a “meeting” on Monday mornings to talk about what all we’ve got going on that week. At the meeting, kids can add to their calendars as needed.
Give kids a schoolwork schedule to follow
Teaching kids to be responsible for their own homeschool schedules is an important way to teach time management. From the time kids are old enough to be completing some schoolwork independently, you can give them a schoolwork assignment schedule.
I’ve used two different formats for this. I’ve given assignment lists, and I’ve printed calendars with daily assignments. The calendar of assignments seems to work better for my children, but you can try each to see what works best.
When kids can see their assignments for the week, they can begin to learn how to budget their time to get things done on time. They know what needs to be completed before they can move on.
Use prompts instead of reminding kids directly
It’s easy to fall into the habit of giving kids constant reminders. “Don’t forget to finish that school assignment this afternoon.” “Don’t forget to do your chore before you go outside.” When we put ourselves into that position of giving constant reminders, however, we end up nagging and nagging.
Instead of setting yourself up as a reminder, use prompts that will remind kids what they need to do. Older kids who have phones can learn to use the reminders on their phones to remind themselves when a chore or assignment needs to be completed. If kids don’t have phones, writing reminders on notecards and placing them in key spots can be a good reminder. Having trouble with kids not being on time to start schoolwork for the day? Put a small clock in the bathroom and tape a time reminder index card to the bathroom mirror.
When we use prompts we stop ourselves from constant nagging, we reduce our stress and the stress of the kids who hat the constant reminders, and we teach kids to monitor themselves instead of waiting on us to remind.
Time management skills won’t be learned over night. There are adults who still struggle with time management. But beginning to use these three simple strategies can have kids on the road to good time management.