Managing time is not only a skill — it is a necessity in today’s overbooked world. Time management skills are important for you and every member of your family — including your kids.
Eliminate time sinks
When it’s time to focus on homework, make sure your kids are in a distraction-free zone clear of television background noise, iPads, smartphones and computers (except when approved for use in homework). Help your children understand that they can accomplish their work more efficiently (i.e., quickly) if they are not constantly distracted by texting, TV programs and the like. Then, when they have successfully finished the night’s homework, build in a set amount of free time before bed for whatever it is your children are into.
Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize
Make a list, check it twice. If it’s good enough for Santa, it’s good enough for us. Making a list of things that need to be done, in order of importance, can help you get a grip on what tasks should be tackled first and what can be saved for later.
When you’re helping your kids prioritize, make sure they have all their assignment sheets and homework and project due dates available so you can mark them down on a calendar. It’s also good to prioritize time with friends, physical activity and sleep — and we’re not just talking about for the kids!
Create a routine
If you and your children follow a daily routine, it is much easier to keep distracting time sinks at bay. For example, slate 30 minutes after school for your kids to have some relaxation time followed by one hour of homework or studying before dinner. When kids know what to expect, it’s easier for them to stick to the schedule.
Break down big projects
Whether you need to spring clean the entire house or whether your child has a 15-page paper to write, big projects can sometimes become daunting enough that we put them off until it’s too late. Instead of trying to tackle the project all at once, break it into down into small pieces that you or your child can manage over the course of a few days or a week.
Schedule time for everything — even the good stuff
Yes, even the busiest person can squeeze in time for fun, exercise and indulgences. It’s also important to show your children that all work and no play makes you a dull mommy. They should see you making time for yourself — to do something you enjoy — as well as making time for the family and your career.
Lead by example
You are your kids’ role model, whether you realize it (or they admit it!) or not. To teach your children good time management skills, you need to be living a well-balanced life. If you can’t seem to get a grip on your day, try setting your alarm an hour earlier each day, making a list of things to do (in order of priority) and congratulating yourself on each thing you check off your list.