You wake your kid up at 7 a.m. to get ready for school. You return later to see that all they’ve accomplished is picking out the perfect T-shirt for the day. While this might make for a funny story to tell later, right now it’s a frustrating obstacle that can derail your morning.
Time management is one of the hardest skills for young children to learn. However, that doesn’t mean you should give up on trying to teach this skill to your kids. With some careful planning and patience, you can help your child master the basics of time management. Check out these tips to get them started:
Equip Them With a Watch
Nothing will get your child more excited about time management than a new piece of tech. A kids smartwatch is specially designed for children. So there’s a stronger focus on utility and safety as opposed to fun and entertainment.
Being conscious of your daily schedule is crucial for effective time management. Most kids aren’t aware of the time unless they’re counting down until lunch or when the school bell rings. Equipping them with a smartwatch won’t change their mindset immediately, but it will get them on the right track. Help them get in the habit by teaching them to set reminders for appointments, chores, homework, or even extracurricular activities.
Build a Routine
Now that your child has their own smartwatch, it’s time to build a routine together. This will help give meaning to each time of day. It will also provide a reason for using the watch besides showing it off to friends.
For starters, the smartwatch can be used as an alarm to get up every morning. Waking up at the same time each day is a pivotal part of daily time management. Plus it makes getting ready for school a much simpler process.
Other routines you can implement include a class schedule, dinner times, and an evening routine that allows time for homework and fun. As your child gets more used to their routines, they’ll naturally manage their time more effectively.
Set Some Deadlines
The next step past daily routines is being mindful of deadlines. While the bane of many adults’ existence, deadlines are unavoidable, even for kids. Learning to recognize when something is due will help your child manage their time and take responsibility for their actions.
In some cases, deadlines and routines can go hand in hand. For example, you can implement a daily routine to tackle homework assignments that are due each morning. Since you always know when the deadline is, you can easily help your child plan their time around it. Or perhaps your child plays sports. They can set up goals and timelines for practicing at home so they are prepared for games.
When there’s no consistent deadline — especially during the summer months when school is out — try implementing your own deadlines. Perhaps a chore list must be completed before your child is allowed to watch TV on a Saturday. If they choose to manage their time poorly, they risk losing the potential reward.
Regularly Update Calendars
A family calendar is a great way to get everyone on board with time management. All family members will be aware of upcoming events, chore rotations, trips, and more. This also provides a bigger picture for time management, such as getting more done in preparation for an upcoming event.
Online calendars are a simple yet effective way to track everyone’s time. A shared family calendar can be accessible to every family member. For individual needs, you can create more online calendars. Your child can practice their time management skills by having a calendar of their own.
What do you hope to accomplish besides making sure your child is ready for school on time? Setting measurable goals is a great way to gauge the process of acquiring time management skills. It also provides a plan for your teaching. That way your child can get an idea of what you hope to accomplish with them.
Maybe your child wants to participate in after-school sports but struggles to find time to complete homework. Set a goal with them to improve their focus on completing homework with the end goal of joining the team. This will give purpose to time management and a reason to keep going.
Be the Example
This will always be an important point when talking about teaching your child anything. Children learn best when their teacher provides a good example. If you struggle with time management, your child may have a hard time understanding why it’s important. So make time management a top priority for you, too.
For example, if you find yourself struggling with deadlines and routines, make an effort to learn alongside your child. Do you miss appointments regularly? Then make a point to set alarm-based reminders for yourself. You’ll find plenty of opportunities to bond together as you make time management a household skill.
It’s never too late to start practicing good time management. By helping your child, you’ll be able to develop skills that will help you in your own personal and professional lives. Your child will see you put in the effort, and hopefully they will follow suit.
Don’t Overdo It
Some parents can get a little too gung-ho when trying to teach new things to their children. However, overloading your child can do more to harm them than help them. Take things slow when you first start out. You can’t force compliance with learning time management, so be mindful of your child’s ability to take on new routines.
Young kids in particular are not going to be able to grasp every concept right away, let alone put them into practice. Start small by helping them tell time or understand how long it takes to get everyone out the door. When you feel like they’re getting the hang of this basic concept, you can move onto calendars, deadlines, and other lessons.
Life will be so much better — and easier — for everyone when your whole family practices time management skills. Take time management training one step at a time with your child. Help them understand the importance of such skills even at an early age. You’ll be amazed by how much they’re able to accomplish thanks to your guidance.