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How to introduce an elementary student to time management

Julia Christensen is an experienced tutor and professional writer for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.

Proper time management is vital – help your student by teaching these skills young

From adults who juggle work duties and child care to students balancing homework with extracurricular activities, proper time management is vital. Help your student with her schedule by instilling these skills early; it may help her in later, more difficult years of school, as well as adulthood. Try introducing time management to your elementary school student with these tips.

1. Explain the concept

If you're hoping to teach your child a skill, it is good to explain it to her first. Sit down and discuss what time management is, and why it is important. Students need time management skills to take care of educational responsibilities, and working adults need time management skills to complete job duties. Try explaining time management through some of her favorite characters or people, showcasing all of the responsibilities they have that are juggled through proper time management. Perhaps your child's favorite storybook character has to balance school while solving mysteries; point this out as a great example of the skill.

2. Make a schedule together

Talk to her about types of schedules and decide on what she thinks would be best. Should she have a large wall calendar? How about a daily list of activities? What about a notebook-style planner? Make picking and setting up the schedule fun, perhaps utilizing some colored pencils or stickers where you can. Then mark in everything she has to do: eat breakfast, go to school, attend karate class, have dinner, go to bed, etc. Have her look for blank spots to fit in necessary tasks that don't have a specified time, such as homework.

3. Highlight the incentives

Depending on your child's age, the need to manage time might seem entirely pointless. A youngster with little homework and no other responsibilities may not see why adults with duties to juggle need time management skills. Make sure she sees the incentives behind managing her time. For example, if she finishes her homework before bedtime, she may have the opportunity to color or play on the swings, but if she dawdles while working she may run out of time and miss out on her favorite play activities. Bedtime, wake-up time and school hours are non-negotiable, so everything else needs to fit in the empty time slots. Time management is not only an important skill to teach so she can later excel in school and the workplace, it's a key concept to finding time for personal pleasures!

4. Set a good example

Showcase your own great time management skills by avoiding procrastination, and dealing with the repercussions when you run out of time. If you bring work home from the office, do it early in the evening. If the kitchen table is cluttered, tidy it up instead of pushing papers to the side. When you talk to your child about time management, go ahead and point out that you got your work finished before dinner so you have time to catch your favorite show. On the contrary, if you find yourself stuck beneath a pile of procrastinated work, let her know that you wish you'd done it at the proper time. Use your child's need to learn as motivation for good habits!

For more tips and strategies to help your student succeed in school, visit varsitytutors.com.

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