Time Management is a major key to independent learning. Learning to set a schedule, and keep it, is important skill that needs nurturing.
At first, you will need to make sequence clear to your child by giving him specific verbal cues — first, next, then, before, after — as you develop a routine. Ask questions: What comes next? Do you remember what you did first?
Young children are simply not conscious of time. Parents tell them when to eat, get dressed, play and read. Time is managed for them; it is something not thought of. When they start kindergarten they begin to understand time and time limits to accomplish tasks.
As students move through elementary school and gain independence it becomes imperative that they understand Time Management. Students feel independent pride when they successfully at completing tasks, within a time, independently, because they are in control.
One of the most effective tools a parent can use to teach time management is the motivation of “freedom” of control of his/her schoolwork. Let it be clear, that when they start managing their time you will stop.
Explain that when they show they can manage their schedule successfully, without prodding or reminders from you they will gain more freedom.
Example: At first you may need to set up a family reading schedule; “Every night we read for thirty minutes before bed.” Then, ask your child if he/she would like to set up a reading schedule…the trick is making it work. Remind them they need to make a commitment to themselves to keep that schedule.
How are they going to stick to the homework schedule they have planned, not just today, but in the weeks and months ahead? What if they have a big project for school? How are they fitting that into their schedule? You gradually release their schedule as they prove they can manage it.
Make sure you let them know there will be problems. Some things take longer than we plan, we get sick, company comes to town, etc. These are great teachable moments. Don’t let them stop their plan at the first pitfall, life will always be interrupted.
Teach them to be realistic and to reset their goal. Teach them to be flexible with their time, maybe learning to give themselves a little extra time, patience and persistence.
This is not a one night skill. Time Management is a life long goal with the end result being a more efficient, independent and successful student.
Enjoy the road to independence; Above all be happy and proud of each small step your child achieves.