We never seem to have enough of it and we often never seem to get quite enough done every day. And the chances are very good that your child feels the same way. When we, as adults, think we don’t have enough time we tend to get stressed out, annoyed and often end up forgetting things and doing things wrong. Again, the same is true for your kid.
When they’re stressed about upcoming tests and losing track of assignments in their messy backpacks and running out of time to study for that big test, their grades can suffer.
With all of this in mind, why not introduce these time management techniques to your kid to get organized and on track for school (and maybe steal a few for yourself too!)
Build a Map of the Week
Every Sunday, sit down with your child and have them map out the coming week. Have them divide everything they need/want to achieve into one of three categories as follows:
Things they need to get done first (finishing that big homework assignment, studying for that big test.)
Things they would like to get done next (sort out their clothes, finish reading a book)
Things they want to do (hang out with friends, compete in that video game tournament, watch that new TV show)
Once they have all of this decided have them note everything in a chart marked Monday-Friday, noting how many hours they realistically have every day in which to achieve things. Each day should be given a start and end time and they should add tasks and to-dos to the list based on priority and available time.
This may sound rather a rigid exercise for a kid to be asked to complete but it can be of great help. So much help in fact that while they are creating their chart every Sunday evening it would be an excellent idea if you made one of your own as well.
Learn to Use Their Calender
What is the one thing you can almost guarantee your tween or teen always has with them? What are they probably checking right now? Their phone. While a kid may forget a half dozen things when they leave home their phone is rarely going to be one of them; they need it. In fact, if you ask them they’ll probably say they can’t live without it.
The one thing that every smartphone has, no matter the brand, is a calendar app. Encouraging your child to make use of some of their phone time to get familiar with using the said calendar, and its updates and reminders is an excellent way for them to take their must-dos and want to dos with them wherever they go so these things actually get done.
Break Down Big Tasks into Little Ones
Your second bathroom is a mess. You know it is. But like any task that’s a pretty big one, it’s very easy, and very tempting, to put it off. You have no time to do it in the morning, there are kids to get school and yourself to get to work. You really don’t want to do it in the evening because if you can sneak an hour or so to yourself you’d rather spend it doing something relaxing and enjoyable. So you close the door so you don’t have to look at the mess and promise yourself you’ll do that big bathroom clean up soon.
Now, cleaning the bathroom sounds like a simple task. But is it really? What does it really entail? At least all of the following:
- Mopping the floor
Washing down the counters, bathtub, sink, and toilet (at least)
Washing the rugs
Oraganizing all the ‘bathroom stuff’
Sanitizing and sprucing up the place.
Taking out all the garbage
So no wonder you never get around to this simple task. But if you break it down, as we just did here, and do one thing at a time, when you have a few minutes, it seems a lot easier, right?
Once you have mastered this skill yourself, show your child how to make use of it. That looming goal of trying to get a great grade on their next big test? Achieving that goal will be a lot easier if they break it down as follows:
Wake Up Prepared
When is your child usually at their most disorganised? Right before they head to school right? Their backpack is messy and they can’t find THAT BOOK in it (although they expect you to) They are running late because they can’t find that sock/shoe/hairband/set of headphones. They leave the house without the lunch that was packed for them because they are in too much of a hurry.
Teaching your child the value of organisation and preparing for a new day the night before can help prevent most of this. Have them get into the habit of going through their backpack at night, cleaning out the clutter and then making sure they have everything they will need for the next day packed.
Have them lay out their outfit the night before. Add a reminder to their phone to take their lunch out of the fridge that will go off right before they are supposed to head out of the door. These are all little things, but they will help everyone get out of the door in the morning far better prepared for the day ahead and in a much better, far less frazzled state.
Staying organised and on track is something a lot of kids have difficulty with, but if they can make a habit out of these time management techniques, they will feel more confident, less stressed, and perform better in their academics overall. The other plus? You’ll feel at lot less stressed and under pressure and will be able to focus a little more on managing your own time better as well.