Last week I talked about managing your time with a newborn in the house. Today I want to talk about kids as they grow into new stages of development. Teaching them how to properly organize themselves and manage their time is an important lesson that will make them more successful throughout their lives.
• Use timers – if your child needs to practice an instrument for 20 minutes, use a timer to help him understand how long that is.
• Keep the bedroom TV free – combining a TV with a developing sense of what time is can create conflicts between the parents and children. It’s better to remove the temptation.
• Create visual calendars – make a picture calendar to show school days, activities, and other events that your child will be expected to attend.
• It’s okay to say no – be careful not to over-schedule your child with activities. Allow him some free time to read, color, watch TV, and just relax.
• Use a planner – teach your child how to use a daily planner to write down all of her homework and other assignments every day.
• Utilize a home/school folder – have a pocket on one side for things to go ‘to school’ and another on the other side for things to come ‘from school.’ Along with your child, be sure that she has done each of her assignments and that all of her homework is ready to go the next morning.
• Renegotiate expectations – set age-appropriate bedtimes, expectations on the amount of homework your child should do each night, free time on the computer and phone.
• Take the computer out of the bedroom – avoid free time spent on the computer from sabotaging homework time. Your child may not have the internal skills to censor herself.
• Take advantage of access to your child’s grade and attendance on-line – most schools provide parents with a website and password to view your children’s progress. Be sure to keep track of how they are doing to catch any potential problems before it’s too late.
• Help your child multi-task – there will be long-term assignments that must be carried out over time, along with nightly tasks. Help your child understand how to balance all of her work.
• Help your kids avoid over-scheduling themselves with school work, jobs, extracurricular activities, and a social life. They need to understand how to prioritize demands on their time.
• Kids are more independent, but let them know they can ask for help when needed. Even if they want a sounding board, reassurance helps.