Teaching kids time management early on creates a strong foundation for a very positive habit. As they get older, responsibilities grow. Balancing homework, school projects, household chores and extracurricular activities can be overwhelming, but it creates an opportunity to build strong time management skills.
Teaching Kids Time Management
It doesn’t matter if you’re a child or an adult we all have our strengths and our weaknesses. Finding our strengths to balance those weaknesses can be the challenging part. For instance, my daughter is strong academically but gets easily overwhelmed when she feels the pressure of due dates. We decided that working on her time management skills would help ease those anxieties.
These approaches have helped us tremendously, and it’s definitely noticeable in her overall productivity and self-confidence.
Work on the monthly family calendar together.
At the end of every month, we sit down as a family to fill in the next month’s calendar. This is a great opportunity to talk about planning and time management. Discuss priorities such as family, home, school, and any other areas that might be pertinent. Then move onto other commitments like birthday parties, play dates, etc.
Some children are visual learners, so this process helps them to understand how we can’t do everything. When we first started this practice, we would break down the weekends on a daily calendar. After seeing the how every commitment “costs” us time, she realized that we do have to be selective. There will be times where we can’t attend a friend’s birthday party and that’s okay.
Manage larger projects in smaller portions.
Book reports and school projects can be overwhelming to younger students who are just being introduced to the extra work. I touched a little bit about my daughter’s anxiety in these areas before and found this approach has definitely helped the most.
When the details of these assignments are sent home from school create an action plan with your child. Break the projects down into daily or weekly goals. We include these goals on our family calendar because she can see where she may or may not be able to fit another activity during those times.
Set an example and show them the importance of commitments & priorities.
Don’t let all your hard work go to waste. Be their example when it comes to keeping your commitments and making priorities. One of the biggest areas that we’ve forgotten, as parents, is taking care of ourselves. We do need time to refuel, so we can meet all our other responsibilities. Make sure to schedule yourself time on that family calendar and talk about why it’s important.
Whether you work from home or work follows you home, try to make clear “office hours.” Show them by example that you can prioritize, while still sticking to your family and work commitments.
Allow them to lead.
When we sit down and work on the family calendar we allow our oldest to pick a few fun activities she’d like to see added to the calendar for herself and her younger brother. It gives her a voice in the process and definitely builds her self-confidence.
After filling out our commitments and priorities, we work together to make time for a couple of her choices. We try to include as much of them as possible. There are times when the month looks filled or maybe we have to be tighter on our budget. This opens the door to a number of conversations about delayed gratification, prioritizing, etc.
Be flexible because stuff happens.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an adult or a kid, stuff happens and plans change. Be flexible and use those moments as teachable ones.
Maybe a loved one is ill or events were cancelled. Remind your children that we can’t control everything and that’s absolutely okay. Imagine having that concept already ingrained as you head into college or even the workforce? Being able to deal with changes with that foundation could absolutely make a difference in having a positive or negative reaction.
Free Printable Worksheets
I’ve got a couple of free worksheets you can print off to help you discuss time management with your children. Have them set goals and work on time management by creating monthly lists. It’s amazing to watch their confidence grow as they complete each I Got This! worksheet.
Here is a lined version of the time management & goal setting worksheet.
Want to follow through with tip #2: manage larger projects in smaller portions? Print out this school planner.disclosure policy .