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How to teach a child time management

teach a child time management

How can you teach a child time management skills? Our guide outlines strategies and tips so you can help your child manage their time.

Time management is a topic that adults struggle with. So how should a child manage to properly divide up time for homework, learning and leisure activities so that there is no stress? 

We all know stress. Stress at work and stress at home – there is always stress everywhere, especially when you can’t really afford it. Your child is also always exposed to stress. In this regard, school time is not an oasis. Exams, homework and leisure activities are often difficult to combine. A lot is expected of the children. And if adults can hardly manage a stress-free everyday life, how can a child do better? This is why it is so valuable to teach a child time management skills.

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A basic instinct that protects our body to this day

But what exactly is stress? Stress simply means pressure or tension. It is actually a protective mechanism. The body prepares for a danger and uses the available energy to either flee or fight. In our time, this is no longer life-threatening, but we still feel this stress and take the situation as a threat. This often has to do with the time in which we want to do something and with our own expectations. The time is certainly easier to control than your own expectations.

The problem is that you think you have time. 

This quote from Buddha fully describes the main problem. We often know early on what needs to be done or what we want to do. So we could reach our goal stress-free. Since we assume that we have enough time, we often postpone the tasks or we underestimate the effort. We know it from all possible areas of life: deadlines at work or school, as well as household chores or promises to others.

But why do we really step on the gas when time is running out and stress levels are at their highest? With the full time available, it would be much easier and more pleasant. So what can we do to control this stress factor as well as possible? The magic word is: planning.  

Clearly separate working hours and free time

“I don’t have time to plan!” How many times have I heard that? No matter whether from students or friends. My answer is always the same: “You don’t have time not to plan!” Planning is seen by many as a time waster and under pressure it is an additional task that you do not want to master. Still, it’s incredibly helpful. The missing time is often just a mixture of times. Instead of defining clear working hours and free time, we lose ourselves too often in “garbage times”.

Garbage times are the periods that I do not use properly, in which working hours and free time mix. I refrain from my work and feel guilty because I play on my smartphone and lose focus. The work is lengthening and while I am working I long for free time. This time is wasted because I can neither do my job nor enjoy my free time. It is important to try the clear separation. For this I need planning, I need to know what to do so that I can get my well-deserved rest.

Since this structured way of working is also difficult for adults, your child needs help.

5 tips to teach a child time management

1 Write down everything there is to do

Write down all the tasks that your child has to do. Look ahead, are there any major jobs that have to be submitted at a later time and take a lot of time?

2 Estimate the time required

Estimate the effort. How extensive is this task? Calculate generously and plan a spare time for each task (approx. 5-10 min)

3 set priorities

Think about what needs to be done urgently. What has to be done in one day?

4 Find out possible time windows

A daily or weekly schedule is helpful here. Also note if your child has other appointments (music lessons, sports, etc.). These are important for your child, but they also save time. Nevertheless, you will notice that there is rarely a lack of time and it is certainly not necessary to cancel the leisure activities. Planning enables free time and completed orders, and it also reduces stress. 

5 Clearly define the times

Divide up the open time windows from point 4 well. And stick to it. For example, set an alarm clock to remind you that it is now time to study or work.

Yes, these steps are time-consuming the first time. The fourth point in particular, to find out which time slots are suitable, takes a lot of time. But it is worth investing this time. If you know your time slots, plan tasks more consciously. You will be amazed at what you can do and how much free time you have left!