A Guide: Teaching Youth to Manage Their Time

time management

As the old adage goes, time is gold.

Time is often taken for granted by the young. Because they believe that they still have a lot of time, they tend to procrastinate. They have plenty of other, more fun things to do such as browse their social media feeds, play video games, chat with their friends, watch a television series, etc.

You probably do not need to be told that procrastination leads to missed deadlines and low exam scores. Children fail to learn their lessons and submit their assignments on time. As a result, they get bad grades, and they do not live up to their full potential.

Most of the time, the problem of wasted time is not caused by sheer laziness. It can be an issue of lack of motivation or the inability to better make use of time.

Time management is a skill that does not come naturally. It has to be taught to children by the adults around them through example or by training them to prioritize their tasks throughout the day.

The Benefits of Time Management

The life of a student is very busy. They have to learn and master multiple subjects, including mathematics, science, and languages. They also participate in after-school activities to learn how to play music or sports.

For example, students in International Baccalaureate (IB) schools in Singapore are trained to become well-rounded people. They are exposed to different disciplines in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), languages, and the arts to transform them into globally-competitive adults who can become achievers in whichever career they want to pursue.

This would not be possible, however, without time management skills. Through better structuring the day, the workload stops feeling like a steep mountain to climb. They can give the right amount of time and attention to each and every task, ensuring that they can do their best in every assignment or exam.

Moreover, time management is a skill that they will bring to adulthood. Later on, these children will grow up to become adults who live a more balanced life that allows them to pursue their dreams, have a strong relationship with family and friends, and enjoy a hobby on the side.

In short, they can have a happier, healthier, more fulfilling existence.

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Establish and Follow Routines

Routines may be tiring for adults but, for children, it provides safety and security. It sets up expectations on what is going to happen, who will be present, and what they should do. It allows them to become independent, even at home with the family.

A routine also eliminates the need for people to think. It creates a structure to the day that, if followed by your child regularly, will begin to be automatic. They will do their chores, practice playing a musical instrument, or finish their homework without being forced to do so. They would not waste time making decisions that may lead to procrastination.

Provide Them Tools to Help Them Better Manage Their Time

Gifting your child a planner can motivate them to be more productive throughout the day. It is a simple tool, but it can add fun to their day by helping them visualize what they have to do and gives them a sense of accomplishment by making them see what they have already accomplished.

Some may find better success with a visual timer. An app like Time Timer allows young students to see how much time has passed and how much time they still have. Knowing that the time is ticking pushes them to stop procrastinating and complete what they have to do.

No Nagging

Parents make the mistake of telling their children to do a task over and over again which can get annoying. It will lead to anger on the part of the parents making the order and further resistance from the children who might be doing something else.

Instead, set your expectations. Tell them that you want them to clean their room before the day ends. If needed, follow through with the appropriate consequences.

Most of the time, communication between parents and children is enough to motivate them to do better. Adults should explain why something needs to be done and what will happen if they fail to do it. If they understand the necessity of the task and its potential consequences, children will be more likely to do the right thing without being told.

Children who grew up with time management skills have the tools to become successful later on in life. In fact, one study found that self-discipline, which is an important factor in time management, is a better predictor of academic performance among adolescents than IQ. Teach them time management skills today to prepare them for a bright future ahead.

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