Thursday, July 21, 2011

Time Management for Kids

Time management is a life skill that will benefit your child throughout their life time. So often, we hear adults exclaiming how tired and burned out they are. This is most likely because they never learned how to properly manage time and set boundaries. With some simple steps, you can put your child on a path to a less stressed out childhood and adult life.

Here are some skills to teach your child so they can begin to learn the process of managing their own time in an effective way:

1. Set limits and stick to them. Get out a large calendar and start filling in the activities/obligations you already have. Be sure to include necessary activities like family dinner time, homework time, church, etc. If there is overlap, it is time to prioritize. This may include making some hard decisions about which activities to keep and which to let go. Explain to your child that life is full of hard choices, but picking a few things and doing them well is more important then trying to cram it all in. Keep this calendar up in your house all the time. This will serve as a visual account of what you have to do each day/week.

2. Prioritize. Help your child to make a list of their activities and obligations in order of importance. Are the things at the bottom of the list really necessary? If not, consider resigning or limiting activity with those groups. Your kids may find that once they have less going on, they are happier and less stressed out as well.

3. Say no. Sounds simple, but somehow that two letter word can be hard to say. A nice way to say it is, “that sounds like a neat activity, but we don’t have the time right now.” Practice saying this with your child. After they have said it a few times, it will be easier when they are confronted off guard. Explain to your child that they are not doing anyone any favors by being stretched too thin.

4. Post a daily routine in your home. This will help you and your kids to stay on track. Getting everyone on a time schedule at home will help you all to keep pace in your day. The posted schedule will serve as a visual reminder until you and your kids get into a regular habit. This also teaches your kids the importance of routines and utilizing calendars.

5. Use a timer. We all tend to get side tracked – a really good show is on, a good friend calls, a fun new game on the computer….. All this is fine in moderation, but how much time do things like this really claim? Set limits on these activities for your child. When your child sits down to do any of these activities, set a timer. When it goes off, remind your child that it is time to end the activity. Point out to your child that time easily slips away when we are preoccupied. Show your child how to get that time back by watching it more closely. They may complain or resist, but in the long run, this is a very important life skill.

6. Teach by example – If time management is not your strength, it is not too late to learn. Not only should you do it for yourself, but do it for your child. We all know that we have to practice what we preach or our kids will cry foul. Utilize these methods for yourself as well as your child and, as a family, have better time management so you can all be more stress free.

Time management is a habit like eating vegetables and brushing your teeth. It may take a few tries, but once you get into the swing of it, you will find it easy to stay on top. Remember that living a stress filled life is not only hard on you, but hard on your kids.

Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at Check out her blog at

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