Start ‘em Young: Early Time Management for Kids
Old habits die hard, so teaching your children how to properly manage their time could just be the strongest and most essential habit your kids can learn.
Is it just me, or is time getting faster as we grow older? Many adults will say they used to have more time in a day than they have right now, even though we’ve been living in the same number of hours since our conception. True enough, more task needs more attention and time.
And we can see a problem developing here, because even adults have a hard time managing their time.
Therefore, time management will be hard subject to teach their kids. Well, honestly speaking, I’m guilty of this too. I think my time is better off spent in more important things, such as teaching them how to read, how to shower by themselves, and how to brush their teeth. And then there’s keeping my husband happy!
Looking back on entering junior high, I realized how hard it was for me to adjust in a fast-paced world. Several obligations pile on top of each other like book reports, assignments, and exams. I had a hard time back then, and I know it’s gonna be a lot harder for my daughters’ generation.
Many studies suggest that knowing how to manage time can be linked to success in the future. It’s simple logic: with time managed properly, one can accomplish more tasks.
This is why I am now trying my best to teach my twins the importance of time management, and how to properly spend their day. Here are some tips on how you can help your kids manage their time better:
Time is Chocolate
While almost everyone will agree that time is gold, most kids won’t understand how crucial gold actually is. To make kids easily understand the importance of time, compare it to something they’re very fond of. Chocolate has many similar characteristics with time; you can never turn back time just as you can never bring chocolate back to its original shape when it melts, and spending too much time in a simple task isn’t good just as eating too much chocolate isn’t healthy.
Do a to-do
Teach kids in creating to-do lists. And if you find their tasks to be too few, you might want to add some chores you think they can start doing. Small tasks such as emptying the trash bin and feeding the dog can easily be handled by 8 year-olds.
Plan and prioritize
As to-do lists pile up, they need to identify which tasks need immediate action, and which tasks could wait. In considering what’s important, kids have to consider the effects, urgency, and magnitude of each task.
Almost every task has a tool that’s designed to make it easier. This goes the same with time management. Introduce your child to a planner, and teach them to think ahead and think of planning the things they want to do. They can start with plotting shows they want to watch, a concert they dream of going to, or when they’ll come over to a friend’s house for a sleepover.. Also, while alarm clocks can help remind them, they might become dependent on it. Once you see that they’re diligently using and following their schedule, you can even reward them by buying VIP tickets!
Explain what deadlines are for
Personally, I had trouble explaining this to my children. Kids don’t really have a sense of urgency, except when they badly want to use the PlayStation. I got them to understand deadlines by setting time limits on their tasks, especially with homework, then rewarding them when they meet the deadline. One time, I reversed the situation. My kids love their milk. So when they didn’t meet their deadline, I served juice at breakfast instead of milk as punishment. This is to show them that not meeting deadlines can sometimes cost them something.
Teaching your little ones the importance of time and how to manage it is a major step to their independence. This can even save you from having to wake them up every day. Time management also prepares them to be responsible individuals in the future. Once the kids get used to their new habit, success will definitely follow them wherever they go.
About the Author:
Ruth Mendez is a working mom with lovely twins. She and her family enjoy yoga during weekends, aside from going to the movies and eating ice cream at home. Ruth loves Dubai and works as a Community Manager for Afterschool.ae, the leading web and mobile-based after school activity platform for kids and moms in UAE. Follow Ruth on twitter @fruthfulness.