Shortly after your child starts school, he will learn to read a calendar and to tell time. He will start to get homework assignments and be involved in school and social activities. Plus he’ll be assigned additional chores around the house. This is the ideal time to teach your child some scheduling basics.
Poor Time Management
One thing your child may not understand, though, is how long activities take and how many activities they can fit into a day. Your son may think that he can play video games until dinner and still have time to practice piano, do homework, bake cookies, and still get to bed on time. When time runs out and the homework and chores aren’t done, no one will be happy.
Time Management for the Organized Child
You can help your youngster understand what went wrong and how to prevent such a situation in the future by showing him how to construct a schedule with realistic, allocated blocks of time to accomplish his tasks and activities. Here is how:
1. Have your youngster make a list of everything that he needs to do, including travel time, eating, bathing, and chores.
2. Include on the list activities that your child would like to do – watching TV, video games, and playing with friends.
3. Indicate on the list the day that each item needs (or is wanted) to be done.
4. Indicate how much time each activity will take.
5. Mark items as Mandatory (going to school), Flexible (when to complete homework), or Optional (playing video games).
6. Allocate the appropriate number of hours for sleep so your son or daughter will know how much time is available for the other activities.
7. Use a planner or calendar that has days of the week and hours of the day.
8. Have your son or daughter place activities on the calendar based on when they need to be done and how long they are expected to take. Mandatory activities should go on the calendar first. Use a calendar that your child will be able to keep with them or have easily available – a planner, smartphone, desktop, etc.
9. If there are more activities than available time, your offspring will need to defer Flexible activities and delete Optional activities. You and your son or daughter can work together to balance chores and optional activities. This teaches your child to understand how long tasks will take and to make good choices about how he spends his time.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Work with your child weekly to create the task list and calendar. Remind him to consult the calendar frequently to monitor his schedule. As he gets in the habit of estimating tasks, he will become more accurate.
Follow the Calendar
Note that each child is unique and so each child’s calendar should be created especially for his situation. Below is an example of a calendar for a busy child, but feel free to create customize it, as needed, for your child.
There is no time like the present to teach your child how to organize his time. He will accomplish more and be less stressed with a well-planned schedule.