This simple 10-step blueprint for teaching kids time management skills is part of a sponsored partnership with TIMEX.
“What are you doing? You’re supposed to be getting ready for bed!”
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve asked one of my girls to do something, only to check on them a few minutes later and they’ve barely started.
Or gotten distracted and are doing something completely different.
Whether it’s finishing homework or brushing teeth, getting kids to do a seemingly simple task on their own can be a challenge.
Does this happen to you too??
When it Seems Like Kids are Being Lazy, Consider This
When kids get off task, it’s not always because they’re trying to be disobedient.
It might be that kids need help with time management, which like any other life skill, is something we parents need to teach.
We can’t rely on overburdened teachers to do it all for us.
When my oldest daughter started tutoring program last year, I was stunned to find out that she didn’t know how to tell time with an analog clock.
How can kids manage their time if they don’t know how to TELL time in the first place?!
This was a wake-up call to my husband and I that we needed to step it up at home and make sure certain life skills weren’t falling through the cracks!
The good news is that we can get our kids on track without making major changes or doing anything crazy. It doesn’t even have to be a lot of work for us parents.
With the right example, a little patience, and of course — time — kids can absolutely learn to keep themselves on task and get things done.
It IS possible if you create a blueprint for them and stick with it as a family.
10 Tricks for Teaching Kids Time Management
These are the things we’ve found helpful in our house for teaching our girls time management skills. I hope they help you and your family too!
1. Stick to a Routine
You might get bored doing the same thing every day, but your kid secretly loves routines and habits.
As the Child Development Institute explains, predictability provides a feeling of safety for children. This security frees up kids’ ability to think creatively and build independence.
Creating a day-to-day routine at home (or multiple routines) not only gets things done, but it lets your child be their best self.
Examples of daily routines for kids:
- Morning routine (getting ready for school)
- After school routines (see ours here!)
- Bedtime routine (brush teeth, put on PJs, bedtime story)
Related: This 5-minute morning yoga routine for kids helps us wake up and get out the door in a good mood!
2. Help Kids Learn the Routine
Doing the same activities in the same order every single day is one of the simplest ways for kids to learn a routine. It’s easiest (for young children especially) when you guide them through the routine.
However, as kids get older, they are capable of carrying out some routines themselves, such as getting ready for bed.
A simple chart with times for each step in the routine helps kids learn to do things themselves and keep on task.
3. Model What You Want Kids to Learn
Kids learn by example, and their greatest example is you!
It’s not enough to simply tell children what they should do, you’ve got to show them too.
Psychologist EileenKennedy-Moore explains, “Good modeling doesn’t guarantee that children will do what we want them to do, but telling children ‘do as I say, not as I do’ definitely won’t work.”
If you tell your kids that a schedule is important, but you’re habitually late for everything, kids will start to sniff out inauthenticity.
If you don’t manage your own time, why should they?
4. Keep Your Expectations Reasonable
Like any new skill, learning time management takes practice!
Remember that this is a new concept for kids who have always been told when to do things so far. Be patient and encouraging — and don’t be too hard on them if they mess up.
5. Teach them to Tell Time
You won’t get very far in teaching kids time management if they can’t tell time!
With routines, kids can learn the order of certain tasks in relation to each other. However, it’s important for them to learn when to start the routine or how long each task takes.
Learning to tell time also strengthen basic math skills, such as skip counting, addition, and subtraction.
6. Make it Fun
It’s a lot easier to teach kids something that interests them. How do you make something like telling time and time management fun?
Make it a game!!
The TIMEX Time Machines app does just that. Scholastic and TIMEX have teamed up to create Time Machines, a game designed for early elementary aged kids to practice and build on their time-telling skills.
With the Time Machines app, kids have a spaceship and missions/levels to learn different time-telling skills. It’s similar to a lot of the popular apps kids love, expect that they’re learning while they play! (I tried it too, and even though I know how to tell time, I found that I kept on playing because I wanted to complete the levels!)
- LEVEL 1: Time Stopper – The player is given a time to locate on the clock while the hands are spinning. The player must watch carefully until the clock hands align with the exact time given and tap the screen at that moment to get points. Earn enough points and you advance to the next level.
- LEVEL 2: Counting Time – Players are given a clock with a certain amount of time shaded in red (for example, a quarter hour, half hour or five minutes). Players must tap the correct number bubbles until they equal the shaded amount without going over.
- LEVEL 3: Rocket Time – Clocks are falling from the top of the screen, each with a different time on the face. The player is given a task: collect hours, half-hours, or quarter hours. The player must move their spaceship to catch the falling clocks with the correct type of time showing. Catch as many as you can before time runs out!
By the time kids complete all three levels, they’ll be a time-telling pro! Plus, they collect watches to place in their watch case (in the game) each time they pass a level.
Be sure to download the TIME Time Machines App from the iTunes App Store and Google Play. It’s FREE!
7. Set End Times
Don’t forget to set time guidelines for your routines or tasks! Part of teaching kids time management is showing them how long each task lasts, not just when to start.
By setting end times, you create a sense of urgency, so kids know they don’t have all day to dawdle.
8. Provide Visual Reminders
Make sure that kids have the tools they need to stay on task. For example, my oldest daughter loves to wear a wristwatch because she can see what time it is anywhere.
Keeping both digital and analog clocks around the house makes it easy for kids to check the time, and practice both types of reading the time.
9. Be Consistent
Consistency is key!
Routines only stick if we actually make them a routine that we do every day. It also shows kids that what we are asking them to do is important.
If we regularly disregard our routines or show up late, then kids will learn the opposite of what we are hoping to teach them.
10. Be Flexible
It might seem to go against the previous point, but sometimes you’ve got to be flexible because, well… life!
While routines and schedules are helpful tools to accomplish what we need to do each day, sometimes there are forces beyond our control that get in the way.
Part of teaching kids time management is showing them that perfection isn’t the goal. We do the best we can, and there’s always tomorrow!
If you are looking for more ways to teach your kids time management, check out these chore cards!
Do you have any special tips for teaching kids time management? Share them in the comments below!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Timex. The opinions and text are all mine.
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