Parenting: Teaching time management skills

January 30, 2012 2:19:49 PM PST
School-aged kids usually have loads of homework every night including projects, sports, hobbies and, of course, they like downtime to sleep, eat, watch TV and relax!

How do you fit it all in without driving each other crazy or doing it all at the last minute?

Experts like Dana Toedtman from the William Penn Charter School say time management is a skill that must be taught.

First, make them pick and choose activities so they're not spread too thin. Have them write down a time clock like this showing where their time goes.

For example:

Sleep/Getting Ready - 10 hours
School/Commute - 8.5 hours
Sports/Arts - 2 hours
Homework - 2 hours
Dinner/TV - 1.5 hours

That's 24 hours, which can go quickly.

"Go over a family calendar - what's coming up next week, like 'Tuesday's going to be jam-packed so let's talk about what we can do together to work on that," said Toedtman.

Make sure you help them prioritize the items that must be done versus the ones they'd like to do. I tell my son school is his priority, and getting enough rest for school is part of that.

Then, try to balance the clock so there are some fun items in there, not just the drudge work. Let your child have a part in rearranging it.

Also, try to split the bigger projects into three smaller parts and do one segment at a time. If the project is due in two weeks, knock out the first part in the first couple days so it's not too daunting.

That way, your child has a sense of accomplishment, not dread and the 2nd and 3rd parts won't feel as tough.

"Parents have to understand, and kids too, that it's going to be a rollercoaster," said Toedtman.

For more wonderful ideas on how to help your child learn to manage their time, follow this link to

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