With more and more distractions coming from all types of devices and social media platforms, it’s no surprise that kids struggle with organizing their time. These days, it’s important to teach children time management skills as early as possible to help them succeed in school and after-school activities. Especially for kids in special programs such as French Immersion, school can become very challenging very fast. However, with the right tools and skills, there’s plenty of time for your children to work hard at their goals and – most importantly – still have time to be a kid!
With that said, here are our top tips for time management:
Before even thinking about organizing our time, we need to make sure we’re well rested! The first step to making sure your child will be healthy, happy and able to excel is for them to sleep well. Getting 8 or 9 hours of sleep a night is crucial, but how do we make it easier?
Once you’ve gotten the sleep schedule set, why not practice making a daily schedule too? Similar to the night routine, a daily routine can help your child learn how to plan effectively and make a list of the things they need to and want to get done on a daily basis. This can be especially helpful for school days, where they can even make a list of things to do before heading off to school (ie, wash face, eat breakfast, pack homework, etc).
Allotting a specific block of time for homework every day can give your child a clear image of when they should be getting their work done on a daily basis, and how long they should work before taking a break.
Next, use a planner or an agenda (most schools give one to each student) with them to instill a habit of writing down important tasks. By checking their agenda at the beginning or end of every day, you can encourage them to make to-do lists, write in important events (such as school field trips or after-school activities), and check them off when done. This is a crucial skill that they will take with them into teenage years and adulthood, so it’s a great idea to start now! Eventually, they will learn what system works best for them. Do they prefer an online calendar (like Google calendars)? Maybe they like planning day-by-day instead of week-by-week. Determining their ideal way to organize their time early on will benefit them in the future – some people don’t have the opportunity to figure this out until well into college!
Bonus tip: get them excited about using their agenda with colourful pens, markers, and stickers to make it their own!
Individual planners are fantastic, but learning to manage your time with other people is just as important. By making your family’s calendar a focal point (maybe on the fridge?) encourages your child to consider not just their schedule, but other people’s schedules as well. Invite them to take initiative by writing their own important events on the calendar – they’ll feel encouraged by taking responsibility.
Equally important to scheduling special events and homework due dates is scheduling free time. At the end of the day kids have to be kids, but especially for the older ones, school and extracurriculars can begin to take over their lives. They can get lost in all their obligations and forget to relax. Allow your child to schedule play time, times to hang out with their friends, or days where they can just do nothing at all. This will help them get a good sense of balance and make sure they understand the significance of time spent with friends, family, or themselves.
Bonus tip: let your child know that it’s okay to ask for extra time on a school assignment or to miss a sports practice on occasion when they’re feeling overwhelmed. Learning to put their well-being first is a greatly beneficial skill.
When it’s time to buckle down and get some homework done, a clean and comfortable study space is key for kids. If they have their own desk, remind them to keep it clean and prompt them to decorate it to their liking. Creating a space that is cozy for them will make them want to spend time there, and make the homework process go that much more smoothly. If they prefer working in a common area like the kitchen table, talk to them about when the best time would be. For example, it might be too hectic in the kitchen right before dinnertime, so they can set aside homework time for right after school instead.
When children have an opportunity to attempt and improve different types of skills, it’s undoubtedly enriching. Sports, music lessons, science clubs; there’s a long list of possible in-school or after-school activities for your child to engage in. Encouraging them to join whatever they can is a great approach, but asking them to reflect on what they participate in can also be helpful. For instance, if they’ve been taking piano lessons for several years but their interest seems to be dwindling, it may be best to sit down and talk with them about it. Ask them if this is something they have fun doing or if it’s simply a cause of stress and frustration. This instills a great habit of self-awareness, and can help determine if they’re participating in too much at once. Allowing them to review their commitments will make sure that their extracurriculars are a positive and worthwhile way to spend their time.
Last but not least, be their biggest cheerleader! Praise them when they’ve finished their homework on time, or remembered to note their upcoming music recital on the family calendar. By showing them that time management is an important skill (but one that takes practice), they will gain a sense of pride in their newfound responsibility.
We hope you enjoyed our top time management tips! If you have any more helpful tips, leave them in the comments below or find us on social media @camptournesol on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.