Read these time management tips to learn how to help your child stay on track and motivated throughout the school year.
All parents want their children to excel in their academics. However, parents also want their children to have time for the fun activities that allow them just to be kids. It’s important for children to learn to achieve a balance between schoolwork and fun activities. Knowing how to teach kids time management will be useful to them as they advance through school and prepare for future careers. Follow these tips to teach time management and help get your child on a path to success.
Time Management Skills for Different Age Groups
Children understand time differently at different phases of their lives. Child development plays a part in how they grasp the concept of time and its use. Effective time management tips for parents change through the grades, preparing school-aged kids to embrace time management skills for a lifetime.
- Start with organization, because time spent searching for a pencil is time not devoted to learning. Then, use a visual timer app or hourglass to help younger children conceptualize time in increments. Establish consequences for failing to use time wisely. When assignments are late, make it your child’s responsibility to tell the teacher what happened and determine how to prevent the problem from recurring. In the higher elementary grades, teach children the basics of scheduling through estimating time needed for various tasks and reflecting on its wisest use. Help them understand the difference between things they must do and things they want to do, and teach them to break down long-term projects into smaller steps.
- At this age, self-awareness becomes an important time management tool. At what time of day is your middle schooler’s concentration at its peak? When does it lag? Help your child study the hardest subjects first. This saves time and promotes more efficient processing of information. Create a daily schedule that sets priorities, assesses available time and includes downtime. Keep distractions to a minimum, especially as children are increasingly drawn toward social media and video games. Sound sleep and a healthy breakfast help your middle schooler build the energy to get through the day.
- Increasingly, high school students take time management into their own hands, even as they add jobs and social events to their calendars. Parents can help them review their schedules and find the unproductive blocks when even a few moments spent on small tasks ease the evening workload of homework and studying. Teach them to start applying time management toward the activities and achievements that will get them to their post-high school goals, whether that’s acceptance into college, joining the military, pursuing career training or joining the workforce. Remind them that it’s OK to say no to invitations, activities and extracurriculars that consume too much time and distract from their goals.
Supporting School Success With the A-B-C System
As you teach kids time management, help them understand that school success depends on learning to prioritize. Even at an early age, kids know how the alphabet begins, so the A-B-C system is an effective introduction to managing the demands of school life.
Start by working with your child to list all the things needed to be done. Then, label each “A,” “B” or “C.”
- “A” tasks are the most important. They need to be completed as soon as possible. This might be a homework assignment that’s due tomorrow, or studying for a test that’s coming in a few days.
- “B” tasks are looming. This could be a project due at the end of the semester — not a top priority right now but sure to become one. As the due dates near, these tasks will move to the “A” list.
- “C” tasks are everything else. These might be things that can be accomplished in brief snippets, such as neatening a desk or walking the family dog.
Help your child stick to completing the “A” tasks first. Remind them to track the time needed to complete each task, to help plan accurately for similar projects in the future.
More Strategies to Teach Your Kid Time Management
Using these additional tips to teach time management can help your child succeed at school and make family life run smoothly every day.
Create a Family Calendar
- At CCA, learning is a family affair. We deliver learning at a pace that suits your child and your family’s lifestyle, with supports and programs designed to accommodate your unique needs. In the quest to make learning a part of everyday life, our parents tell us that maintaining a family calendar keeps everyone in the household on track and in tune with each other’s priorities. Calendars are especially useful in managing all the events and activities of family life in addition to schooling, such as medical appointments, sports practices, music lessons, play rehearsals and family outings. Developing a calendar doesn’t have to be complicated. Create a calendar on banner paper or a whiteboard, color coding each family member so their demands can be differentiated at a glance. Calendaring by the month gives children a visual representation of time, so they can learn to use it effectively. Good calendaring also promotes organization that frees time for quality family outings, whether that’s a vacation getaway or a fun time together in the backyard.
Include Free Time
- Schedules are important, but your child is not a machine. Incorporate free time to let them play and relax. When it’s time to return to work, your child will be refreshed and energized. Accounting for free time teaches your child that time management isn’t about lurching from one assigned task to the next. Downtime prompts the child’s brain to reset and absorb the day’s lessons. With CCA’s flexibility in scheduling, cyber students can pace their lessons and studies to suit their priorities and energy levels. Plus, they have the freedom to schedule field trips and other extracurricular activities that reinforce academics and keep them active and engaged in learning.
Make a Bedtime Routine
- Nothing wastes precious time like the nightly fuss over getting ready for bed. Plus, calm at bedtime promotes a good night’s rest, which prepares your child to make the most of the day ahead. Maintaining a regular bedtime routine teaches your child to recognize when it’s time to brush teeth, put on PJs and enjoy a bedtime story. Compliance is likelier and the time is better spent when expectations are crystal clear.
Manage Screen Time
- Time for video games, social media and videos is an important part of every child’s week, but too much can detract from two of the most important things your child must do — learn and be active. Establish screen time as a special activity, to be enjoyed after all other obligations to school and family have been met. Limit usage to certain times and days. Although a little flexibility is OK, don’t waver too much. Schedule family “technology-free time,” giving everyone a chance to catch up on each other’s lives. And always turn off all screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime, allowing your child to power down from the day and ease into a good night’s sleep.
CCA Supports Time Management in School and at Home
At CCA, our families constantly tell us that time management is one of the most important things we teach. Students learn to take responsibility for their own assignments and obligations. By the time they graduate, our personalized approach to learning and career readiness prepares them for whatever comes next. College admissions officers know our learners are disciplined and ready for college-level work. Employers and career training schools welcome the initiative and efficiency our graduates bring. Learn more about CCA’s flexible and personalized approach to education.