If your child struggles with planning, organizing, and staying on task, and you want to know how to teach time management to kids, this post has lots of great tips and ideas to help! Whether you’re trying to create daily schedules to keep your children focused for short periods of time, or you specifically need help creating homework schedules and routines so your evenings run more smoothly, these ideas will improve your child’s executive functioning skills, helping them manage their time more efficiently and effectively for years to come!
How to Teach Time Management to Kids
1. BE A GOOD ROLE MODEL
Our children watch our every move, so a good first step when trying to teach any new skill to our little ones is to model that same behavior ourselves. Of course, this can oftentimes be easier said than done, especially if you’re not an organized person by nature. If you want to know how to teach time management to kids, spend some time putting processes in place to streamline your own life, and then get your child involved so they learn the skills with you and understand the value of each of them.
For example, you may buy a family calendar and work together to record important events so that nothing gets missed, and to allow you to plan ahead. You can also share some of the time saving hacks you use to help you stay on top of ALL THE THINGS throughout the week, from creating a morning routine, to meal planning and meal prepping, to working in batches, and whatever other hacks you use to streamline your household.
2. CREATE ROUTINE CHARTS
If your kids have a hard time staying on task at particular times of the day, having a visual reminder of what has to be done during this time can make all the difference. You can simply write a list of action items on a clipboard, or get fancy and customize a magnetic checklist, but the point remains the same: kids need to know what’s expected of them, and if you have it all laid out before their eyes, they will be much more likely to stay focused.
3. EAT THAT FROG!
If you want to know how to teach time management to kids, get in the habit of helping your child identify what their most challenging task for the day is, and then encourage them to work on that task first. Your child probably won’t like this idea, but it’s a great life skill to learn. When we prioritize difficult tasks for earlier in the day, we’re able to tackle them when our energy is higher, allowing us to focus for longer periods of time. Removing tight timelines also gives us flexibility. We can divide the task into smaller, more manageable chunks, and often retain more information and produce better quality work when we aren’t in a rush.
4. TEACH YOUR CHILD HOW TO BREAK TASKS DOWN
If your child struggles to perform tasks from start to finish, find ways to help him or her break them down into smaller, more manageable chunks. It may take longer to complete assignments and projects at first, but your child will feel more confident and successful in the long-term if they learn how to make big tasks feel less overwhelming. This is a skill that takes time to develop and that needs a lot of practice, so the sooner you start working with your child on this, the more successful they will be.
5. USE TIMERS AND CLOCKS
As you are teaching your child how to break tasks down into manageable chunks, spend some time teaching him or her how to anticipate the time each task will take, and how to organize their time accordingly. If you’re trying to figure out how to teach time management to kids who are to young to tell time, invest in a tool like the Time Timer to help demonstrate the concept of time. As your child gets older and learns how to tell time, encourage him or her to create their own schedule and take accountability for their time.
6. START THE DAY WITH A PLAN
If you want to know how to teach time management to kids, get into the habit of writing a daily plan each morning. This will ensure tasks aren’t missed as the day gets underway, and will help your child anticipate what’s on tap for the day ahead. This can be particularly helpful on school days as it will provide your child with a clear understanding of everything that needs to be completed after school, ensuring they don’t agree to extracurricular activities they may not have time for. You may also find it helpful to write out a plan on weekend mornings to give your days a little structure, and to keep everyone accountable when they’re feeling lazy.
7. INVEST IN AN AGE-APPROPRIATE AGENDA
If you have school-aged children, investing in an age-appropriate planner is a must! This will get your child into the habit of writing down important tasks as they come up, and having a visual representation of all of their assignments, projects, tests, activities, and social commitments in one place will allow them to learn how to prioritize their time as efficiently as possible.
Most kids don’t get into agendas and planners until they hit the middle school years, but if you want to know how to teach time management to kids who are younger, this is a good tool to start using sooner than later. There are heaps of academic planners you can buy rather inexpensively on Amazon (this planner is a great one for beginners!), which serve as the perfect stepping stone in teaching your child how to prioritize his or her time.
Make it a habit to spend 10 minutes or so planning for the week ahead on Sunday evenings, and then check the agenda together every afternoon after school to help your child understand what is required of him or her and to help create a plan for the evening. This is another way to teach your child how to take big tasks and break them down into manageable, bite-sized action items that feel less overwhelming.
8. CREATE A DESIGNATED SPACE FOR HOMEWORK
It doesn’t matter if your child does his or her homework at the dining table, on the kitchen breakfast bar, or at an elaborate desk in his or her bedroom, but it is important to find a dedicated and QUIET space that is free from distraction so your little one can focus. For younger kids, it’s a good idea to choose an area within close proximity to you so you can keep your eyes peeled and intervene if and when your child becomes distracted. ⠀
9. SCHEDULE REGULAR BRAIN BREAKS
Brain breaks are designed to provide the sensory input a child needs to stay alert and focused and in control of his or her emotions. These breaks are especially important for children who struggle with challenges like ADD, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, and autism, but regular movement breaks can benefit all children. By giving their brains a rest and allowing them to engage in a few minutes of physical activity to get their wiggles out, you’ll likely notice improved attention and focus, increased retention of material being learned, improved emotional regulation, reduced behavioral problems, improved gross motor skills, increased motivation, increased inclusion and cooperation, etc.
CLICK HERE for some of our favorite brain breaks for kids!
If you’re trying to figure out how to teach time management to kids, I hope the tips and ideas in this post prove useful to you!