Time and tide wait for none” so often we have heard this quote but how many of us have given serious thought to it. The child who is aware of time, its importance and how to manage it will always be successful in his/her tasks and ventures. A child who completes the tasks in time will be known to be a responsible and disciplined kid. Creating the awareness of time in children is the whole and sole responsibility of the parent or the caretaker.
How to teach time management skills to kids?
Managing time is a skill and the sooner the child learns, the better he/she will adapt these skills in his/her life. Here are some simple ways to teach time management skills to your children.
1. Start before they are teens:
The earlier the child gets accustomed to the time schedule, the better it is. Never wait for them to become teens because of it very difficult then to change or instill the habits formed and it is very difficult to change.
2. Measuring time:
Teaching children, how to measure time in a fun way will help them to understand the concept of time and its association with the tasks. Eventually, they understand that each task is allocated with a certain time length, and it has to be completed within that frame.
3. Family calendar:
Prepare a family calendar, involving all members of the family including children. Let the children decide how much time should be given to each task and which tasks should be on the priority list.
4. Stick to the schedule:
Sticking to the schedule is the toughest part. The children who do not have control, often get distracted from the schedule. As parents, you have to motivate and also reward them when they complete their tasks on time. If they don’t complete, then let them face the consequences.
5. Break time:
Every child needs a break to relax and refresh before they take up the next task. The energy levels will go down if we overburden them with tasks. In the break time, the children can do the activities which they love eg., play, watch television or read a storybook.
6. Prioritizing work:
Prioritizing the work according to their importance will help the child in completing the work on time. For example, packing the school bag a night prior will give time in the morning to get ready and have breakfast without any hassles.
7. Learning time through fun activities:
There are a lot of games and activities which help the child, know the importance of time. Having a clock in the children’s room will make him/her aware of the importance of time.
8. Allow easy communication:
When the entire family follows a schedule religiously, there is a scope for effective communication and interaction among them. There will be fewer arguments and fights when work is done on time.
9. Lists over routine:
Children are more apt in completing the routine work when it is in the form of a checklist. It makes it easier for the child to know what work he/she has completed and what remains pending.
10. Personal calendars:
Parents should help their children to prepare their own calendar in order to complete the tasks. The calendar can be set on a daily, weekly or monthly basis for the elder kids. This will help the child to plan and be responsible. Thus, the kids from a very young age learn to manage their time.
11. Consider rewards:
Small children are excited when they are rewarded with gifts. The teens feel happy when appreciation is used as a reward. Rewards motivate the children to complete the tasks on time. Giving exercises, tests and chores that should be completed in stipulated time will help children learn the importance of time. They won’t face problems when they have to write school exams or competitive exams.
Time management games/activities for kids:
As parents, we should help the kids to understand time-management strategy and inculcate it in their day to day routine with the help of activities and games.
1. The puzzle of time:
Time management technique can be taught by allowing the child to solve a puzzle and look at the bigger picture. A child understands that a task needs to be broken in small parts and needs to be completed in time to reach the objective.
Things you will need:
How the activity is done?
First, sit with your child and have a healthy discussion on the possible ways by which a child can waste time. Talk about watching television and playing video or online games. Make your child realize that engaging in such activities leads to wastage of time which otherwise can be utilized in doing productive tasks.
Once the child understands what you are trying to say, make him/her write the name of the activities that are time-wasters on a piece of cardboard. Example, too much TV, video games, talking on the phone, etc.
Next, write activities that do not waste time and are productive. Example reading a book, cleaning the room, completing the school assignments etc.
Draw horizontal and vertical lines across the cardboard to separate the activities such that each activity is inside a square.
Ask the child to cut the cardboard into separate squares with the activity written on it. Store the squares in a jar and keep it on the study table.
Whenever the child is confused about using time in a productive way, let him take out the jar and check the activity squares. The child will realize how much time he/she has wasted and how much time was utilized in a positive way.
2. Share an inspiring story for kids on time management:
Every child loves to listen to a story. Stories are a great way to inspire and motivate the child. Here is a story that will make the children realize the importance and value of time. Ultimately the motto of this activity is to make them aware of why it is important to use time effectively and manage their tasks with ease.
3. Motivation talk on time management:
Imagine you have 86,400 rupees in your bank account. But there are a few conditions as to how you use the money. You have to spend the entire money in one day. You cannot carry forward the money to the next day. or take any loan against it. If you do not use the money within twenty-four hours, the bank will seize it. The only option you have is to withdraw it and use it in the right way.
Now if we convert this same money into time, we have 86,400 seconds in our time bank. If we do not utilize this time in a fruitful way it will be gone forever. We cannot save time and carry forward to the next day. We cannot take a loan on our time and we cannot buy time. So instead of procrastination and wasting time, it is better we utilize it. It is the most valuable asset for us and once it is gone, it is gone forever. No use regretting over it.
4. Time management quiz:
Taking a time management quiz will make the children realize how much time they are spending on the necessary work and how much time they are wasting.
Sleeping ___________ hours
Brushing, shower, dressing ___________ hours
Eating ( breakfast, lunch and dinner) ________ hours
Travel ( home to school and back) ________ hours
In school __________ hours
After school activities ___________hours
Homework, study, coaching ___________hours
Chores and errands ___________hours
Watching TV, being online ___________hours
Hanging out with friends ___________ hours
Other stuff __________ hours
Add up all the number of hours taken to do various activities. Ask the child to find out on which activity she needs to spend more time and which activity she can cut down the time. Thus the child realises that prioritising the time on most important works like study and completing the chores will help manage time in an efficient way.
Time management skill if imparted in the child at the earliest will be an advantage for the parents and many problems related to parenting won’t rise. The child will get used to following a systematic and methodical approach in completing the chores and academic work. They would become independent and show leadership qualities when they become adults.