Time management is important to us all. From the executive that is the head of a huge company, to the teacher or student, it is important to spend time wisely. Hundreds of books, seminars and online forums have been developed to address this issue so that people are more productive in their work. How does this apply to kids?
It turns out that some of the same habits developed by millionaires and experts on time management can also help kids. Here are a few ways kids can manage their time better and ways that you can help so they get work done on time and improve their level of retention and productivity.
Have kids record deadlines and details in an assignment book. Successful executives will tell you that keeping up with deadlines is essential to any business. Teaching kids this skill from a young age will help them in school and throughout real lives. By requiring them to keep an assignment book, they will always know when things are due –and so will you.
Reward Exceptional Efforts
Offer rewards for completing assignments early. Even if teachers do not give extra points for early completion, this is a great way to encourage kids to go beyond what is expected of them. Simple rewards such as a small technology item they have been wanting, a new sports jersey or a little money can reinforce the idea that it is important to finish a job as quickly as possible. Keep in mind, though, that quality should surpass speed when it comes to important school tasks.
Encourage “Old School" Habits
Technology can often get in the way of kids’ focus. Teach your children that there is a time for social media, apps and other tech-related activities, but that they should not let it dictate their lives. Limit these pursuits until they have completed paper and pencil tasks.
Practice Goal Setting
Successful professionals always have specific timelines and goals they aim to reach by the end of the day, week and month. Teach kids to do this, too, by setting weekly and daily goals. Start by having them write their overall goal at the top of their assignment list each day and keeping their goals in mind.
Create a Family Schedule
Model good time management by setting scheduled times for specific chores and activities. Kids learn by watching others, especially their parents. For example, establishing a set time for dinner can help model this idea for other tasks. Set times for homework, chores and even free time. Successful business managers always work breaks and “flex time" into their schedules. If kids see they can have some time to do what they want, they will be more likely to focus on important mandatory tasks.
Perhaps the most important thing parents can do to be involved in how kids spend their time making kids feel accountable. Just knowing you will check on their schedule and see which tasks they have crossed off the list will help them stay focused and sticking to the plan.
In the real world, things happen. You will not always be able to serve dinner at six, have kids doing homework at 4:30 or otherwise stick to a rigid schedule every day. Remaining flexible and open to change when things do not happen exactly as you expect allows you to stick to goals without feeling an overwhelming sense of structure that is impossible to live by.
Remember that there is more to time management for kids than balancing chores and schoolwork. Allow time for sports and extracurricular activities, friends and other fun things. This will keep kids motivated when they are performing less desirable tasks.
Evaluate how your routine is working and tweak as necessary. Successful people recommend having time blocks in increments of 90 minutes to get the most accomplished, but a number of factors will determine what works for you. The best idea is to develop a schedule and adhere to it as much as possible, allowing for flexibility when needed.
Kids who stick to a regular routine are often more successful, feel a greater sense of direction, and have more purpose in their schoolwork and in life. It also helps them to develop effective time management skills, which will last a lifetime.
- Great Schools: The Instant Guide to Time Management for Kids
- Learning Works for Kids: What Are Time Management Skills?
- Its My Life: School Time Management