Children often find it difficult to manage their time because they are overwhelmed with the activities they have to do.
While teaching time management can be tricky, you can help your child learn how to prioritize their time.
As they say, teaching kids new concepts at a young age can help them understand their importance and inspire them to learn it themselves. Just like our guide to teaching moral values to young kids here.
If you don’t know how to start teaching your children time management, here are tips on how you can get started based on their age:
Time Management Tips for Preschoolers
When you ask your preschoolers about how they see the time, they will say that time is divided into two: the present and the future. While their perception of time is still not precise, you can do the following to help them:
Teach them how to wait
When trying to learn time management, you must be able to learn how to wait for certain things to be done.
For example, if your child wants to go out on a trip, you should tell them to finish their chores first and wait until your travel date.
The length of time they have to wait gives them a sense of excitement and understand why certain events can’t be done immediately. This will help them to develop patience.
You can also distract them from becoming bored by giving them activities that will keep them excited. For example, if it is their birthday, you can ask them to think about the things they want for their ideal birthday. In fact, we encourage parents to allow their child to be bored and here is why.
Talk about routine
A good way to teach your child time management is by helping them set a fixed routine at every hour. The changing routine around them gives them an idea of how time passes by.
Routine is important to preschool children to help them in their development, you can read about it here. You can create a visual timetable for your young child to understand what activity comes next.
For example, 12 pm is lunchtime, after an hour of lunch comes an hour of reading which follows an hour of free play.
Time Management Tips for Children in Lower Primary
When your child enters primary school, they will start learning key skills like learning how to read clocks, calendars and keeping up with a new schedule. To help with their new lesson, here are some tips you can do:
Your kids might find it hard to do everything they have to do if their stuff is all over the place.
If you want to teach them how to manage time wisely, you need to introduce order. You can help them pack their schoolbags at night before going to bed so they have everything they need the next day.
You can even inspire your child to do it themselves by giving them mini rewards for a job well done. Set a checklist that they can read so they know what to do and keep things in order.
Use a timer
For children to know they are running out of time for their task, have a timer on hand. It could be a digital timer or a visual clock which you can move as time passes.
Knowing how much time they have causes children to adjust their actions and finish their tasks.
Let them know the consequences
Since homework and exams are now a part of their lives, you need to let your child know that it will affect their grades if they are unable to manage their time wisely.
This is a good teaching moment to show them that they need to be responsible for their own assignments. Here is a detailed article on teaching responsibilities.
If they can’t complete their homework in time, the consequence is that they will have to forgo their TV time or stay at home during the weekends to finish up whatever is left.
Time Management for Children in Upper Primary
During this time in your child’s life, the upper primary comes with extra responsibilities such as homework and school activities. These responsibilities are the reason why they must be flexible and able to manage their time wisely.
Here is how you can help them during this time:
Help them learn how to estimate time
When making a schedule, you must be able to determine how long each task will take for you to finish.
When trying to teach your kids how to estimate time, you can give them a chart that reflects each time of the day and how they can adjust it based on how much time they would like to spend on certain activities.
Schedule long-term assignments or project
If your child has a long-term assignment or project, it is important for your child to figure out how they can do it efficiently. The best way they can complete the assignment without wasting any time is by breaking down the assignment in pieces.
For example, if the assignment is about a book report, your child can read the book first, take notes the next day and then plan the project.
Set priority events and tasks
When working on a schedule, you need to know which ones need to be done first and which ones could go later. Your children must learn how to analyze their tasks and organize them based on their priority level.
You can use analogies to help them understand the difference between each task, like a jigsaw puzzle. In this analogy, the important tasks are the puzzle pieces that serve as the base of the puzzle, while the top puzzle pieces are the other commitments then they can do.
Aside from analogies, you can talk to your child about their goals for the future and help them get their schedule back on track if something is affecting their schedule.
Time is not an easy concept to explain, especially for young kids who don’t understand how important time is for everyone. But, this should not stop parents from teaching kids to manage their time wisely.
As our kids will grow, our teachings will help them adapt to any situation life will throw at them and ensure that they have enough time for their other activities.
Trying to install soft skills to your children? Here are some helpful guidelines: