Ways to teach children time management skills

School is very busy and for an adult life can be busier still. Helping your child to learn to manage their time from an early age is equipping them with a useful skill forever.

What are the benefits of learning time management?

The ability to manage time effectively:

  • Reduces stress. There is nothing more stressful than leaving homework or work projects until the last minute.
  • Means more time for fun activities and friends.
  • Leads to better outcomes at school and at work.
  • Increases independence and develops a sense of responsibility.
  • Improves decision-making skills.
  • Brings the satisfaction that comes with completing tasks.

Downtime is important

There are so many after school activities available and children’s homework load can be so heavy that they can feel overwhelmed. It is important that children do not feel overloaded, whatever the circumstances.

Do not fear boredom because it can be beneficial. Children need to be able to let their minds rest and wander for their own mental wellbeing. When children have to find ways to entertain themselves they become more creative and develop the ability to solve problems for themselves. For more about this read, The Benefits of Boredom.

It helps children to learn that effective time management means there is free time to relax, play and just sit for a while.

Learning to prioritise

Effective time management involves prioritising tasks. Children learn to prioritise from an early age through normal daily routines ‘first…’, ‘next…’ and ‘last…’ For example, when you get home from school first you wash your hands and then you have a snack.

Older children begin to understand prioritising in view of longer-term goals. ‘I do my homework before I play a game so that I will pass my GCSE’.

Motivate children to prioritise by encouraging them to think about the reasons why they need to complete one task before another. ‘Why do you think you need to wash your hands before you have a snack?’ ‘Why is it important to finish your maths homework before you play a game?’

Tips for teaching time management

  1. Be a good role model. Show how you manage your own time wisely and that you’re not always missing deadlines or running late. When this does happen let your child see the consequences.
  2. Show your child how you make lists of tasks to complete and tick off. Encourage them to do the same.
  3. Help an older child to create a schedule by giving them a diary or planner that might be in paper form or an app on a phone.
  4. Make sure your child doesn’t over schedule their time. It’s important to have fun and just ‘be’.
  5. Support your child to prioritize activities and make choices. There might be a time clash between one activity and another, or it might be that trying to do two activities on the same day will be too much.
  6. Encourage your child to establish routines. If your child knows what they need to do as soon as they get home from school, they won’t waste time trying to decide what to do.
  7. Limit electronics. Too many hours can vanish in a whirl of social media or computer games. Set time limits and establish rules.
  8. Help your child to set their own goals. If they want to get into a sports team, for example, how much practice do they need to do each day or each week?
  9. Set rules and expectations for your child, but don’t constantly remind them to complete tasks. Feeling the consequences of leaving homework until the last minute, for example, can be memorable. Sometimes your child will genuinely miscalculate how long a project takes to complete – help them to learn from their mistakes.

Is your child studying towards exams?

Our experienced tutors support children studying for SATs, Common Entrance Exams, GCSEs and A/AS levels. We recognise the importance of teaching children not just the subject matter but other skills, such as time management, that will help them to succeed now and in later life.

We offer maths, English, science, humanities and language tuition both remotely and face-to-face, subject to local lockdowns. To find out more email hello@tutormykids.co.uk or telephone 01223 858 421