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Teaching Kids Time Management – Part 1

Teaching Kids Time Management Part 1: Guide For Pre-K to 5th Grade

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Audio Article

Guide For Pre-K to 5th Grade

Time management is a significant life skill: It is the oil that drives the machine of life!

Time management, among other life skills such as organization and money management, makes it possible to achieve life goals, yet these life skills are not taught in school.

Many children struggle with time management as they try to fit everything they want to do within the few hours they get after school. While many kids lack the cognitive skills to organize their work until they get to middle school, you can teach them to prioritize and plan their time. Once your child learns how to manage time, they will succeed in school and beyond.

Are you wondering how to begin? No worries, here are helpful hints from Pre-School to 5th Grade.
Teachers share their tips on the essential concept, from Pre-School to 5th Grade, so that you can make this school year’s schedule more manageable, successful, and a whole lot more fun for everyone!

You never lacked time. You lacked discipline. Quote. Quotes. Motivation. Motivational.
You never lacked time. You lacked discipline. Quote. Quotes. Motivation. Motivational.

A Guide for Pre-School Children

Teaching a preschooler time management is not a walk in the park! Time is an abstract concept that they still need to experience and understand. However, since your child cannot tell time at this age, you can help them develop an idea of time passage. The following tips can help preschoolers reinforce their time knowledge and develop better time management skills.

1. Set Regular Routines:

The best way to educate your child about time is to allow them to feel time moving time through the day. Create a daily routine for your child (at home and in school) and ensure that it is predictable so that they can know what to expect. Predictable patterns help your child learn time management and feel safe and secure. Changing the order of events for your preschooler causes them confusion and insecurity.

While routines are practical tools for teaching preschoolers time management, they should always be flexible. Flexibility helps to account for changes that may occur abruptly by setting a mindset that changes in routine are okay and manageable to ease the uncertainty of when unforeseen events arise. Use such moments to explain to your child why and how to move with the changes.

2. Create a Daily Routine Poster:

While time is a concept felt but not seen, it has visual representations such as clocks and watches. Since preschoolers cannot understand these visual representations, you can help them ‘read time’ through formulating a visual cue of their daily routine. Involve them in creating a poster that outlines their activities of the day. You can draw the action or use simple words like bath, eat dinner, bath, etc. Introduction to simple words and sentences also develops their early literacy skills. Keep referring to the poster’s activities until your child finally understands their timing.

3. Use Sequence Cards:

Since most preschoolers can’t read, you can use cards with activity pictures and have them arrange them in the order they occur in their daily routine. You can either buy already printed sequencing cards or create your own at home.

4. Let them have a Sense of Time:

Use different opportunities to give your child how time works and the length of varying periods. For example, you can tell your child, ” You have 5 minutes to wash your hands” or “you have 15 minutes to finish your art.” Let them know when the duration you quoted time expires.

 If you are a teacher, tell the children the period of playtime even when they don’t understand what that means. For example, you can give them short breaks and ask them to come back after 5 minutes to experience the timeframe of “5 minutes”. Eventually, they will understand how time works and adjust their activities based on reliable timeframes. Let them also have a sense of seconds by asking them to do fun activities such as jumping or bending for 30 seconds.  

Mom gives her son a preschooler his first watch. Learning to determine the time by the clock.

5. Use Vocabulary of Time:

Introduce time vocabulary by constantly talking about time. You can, for example, use vocabulary such as:

  • Please jog for 15 seconds
  • I will be back in 5 minutes
  • Next year you will join grade 1 
  • Today is Wednesday
  • Yesterday was on Tuesday
  • Tomorrow is on Thursday
  • It is lunchtime
  • It is bedtime
  • We shall have a nap in an hour
  • Your birthday is in a month.

Time Management Guide for Grades Kindergarten to 2nd Grade

Children begin to learn to read calendars and clocks in their primary school years. They also start to feel the essence of time by wanting to achieve their day at hand. Therefore, schedules and organizations are essential and vital skills to reinforce time management.

1. Teach them Organization:

Good time management comes with better organization. For example, your child cannot catch the school bus on time if they can’t find some of their school accessories. Help your child find a place and time for everything. You can encourage them to keep their room and working area organized to keep them on top of things.

Schoolgirl running to school at morning

2. Use Visual Timers:

Visual time allows children to manage time predictably since they can see it pass or count down inaccurate measured manner. You can use either a sand hourglass timer or a disc timer.  The application of visual timers helps children to complete activities independently and within a specific period. It also helps them understand time concepts, successfully finish simple activities with little follow-up, and know how to transition between activities.

3. Use Positive Incentives, Rewards and Logical Consequences:

You can teach your child management by applying positive incentives and logical consequences. First, let the child learn to distinguish between activities of relaxation time and scheduled activities. Once experienced, this adds layers of communication about time management. Next, ensure they don’t engage in hobbies or games during scheduled activities like homework time.

Last, give room for your child to experience the positive effects of managing their time well and let them feel and or experience the ripple efforts of poor time management no matter the event. Even when they will be late to a soccer game, this is a game-changer in self-management skills for any age child.

Time Management Guide from 3rd to 5th Grade

Homework and extracurriculars increase at this age; therefore, learning to set goals, prioritize, organize, and have a flexible mindset becomes necessary. Your goal: Instill the skills set for your child to manage their time more purposefully, without dreaded nagging and hovering. How to accomplish this:

1. Help your child to create an Activities List:

When parents and educators work alongside to help their children create a list of their academic and recreational activities, arranging them in priority order becomes simple. Making a list based on priority helps to get urgent tasks on time. Activities with shorter deadlines should lead on the list and give last priority to those with extended deadlines. You can teach them how to sort academic work from fun activities. This way, they will accomplish their ‘work’ and have enough time for recreation.

Creating a list has additional benefits:

  • A list reduces students’ anxiety about daily lives chaos
  • A list gives a structure that they can stick on.
  • A list allows children to follow up on what they have achieved.
  • Builds self-esteem by refocusing on what they are capable of doing.

2. Plan Ahead:

 “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpenings the ax.” 

Abraham Lincoln

We all require preparation to complete a task successfully; children must learn to carve out time to manage and plan their time effectively. This mindset creates a priority and balance toward time management, academic work, and recreational fun. For example, by helping your child plan the necessary amount of time to prepare earlier for an exam will avoid the chaos, cramping, and anxiety of a test the next school day. The step of adding time to carve out time takes practice and patience, but it’s worth it.

Waste no more time.
Waste no more time.

3. Eliminate Distractions

Children between the 3rd to 5th Grade grades are more likely to lose focus in the presence of distractions: distractions are visual, auditory, tactile, gustatory (taste), or olfactory (smell). Children’s ability to focus is determined by taming and controlling their senses. It is an ongoing push and pulls process for most children throughout their day, both at school and at home. Here is how you can reduce your child’s physical and mental distractions.

  • Reduce Physical Clutter

Help your child create a clutter-free working area by organizing their belonging. Also, encourage them only to take out what they need to use at any given moment. For example, let them only have the reading materials required in the session if they are studying. This action creates a study space that promotes concentration and focus. Finally, create a study zone that aligns with your child’s liking: some prefer total silence, while others love listening to music while studying.

  •  Manage Mental Clutter

You can help your child to get rid of mental clutter through mindfulness. If your child struggles to focus during their study, keep reminding them of the original aim of the task. You can also help them to focus by letting them take frequent short breaks amid the job.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What is time management?

Time is a limited resource like money and energy, and therefore we should effectively manage it. Time management is the ability to consciously plan and control time spent on specific tasks or activities to increase productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness.

What skills can help students in time management?

Goal-setting: Creating short-term and long-term goals can significantly help students in time management.

Prioritization: Setting daily, weekly, and yearly priorities can help students meet all deadlines and achieve their goals.

Organization: It is impossible to manage time without organization. Maintaining an up-to-date calendar, using reminders, and keeping the room neat and well-organized can help achieve all set goals.

Anxiety and stress management: Anxiety and excessive stress hinder productivity. Exercising regularly, eating healthy meals, and getting enough sleep can help to minimize stress and anxiety.

Why is time management crucial?

• Proper time management helps your child complete more tasks within a shorter period.

• Efficient time management reduces your child’s fatigue, stress, and anxiety that come with the last-minute rush.

• Proper time management allows students to pursue and excel in education and get time for their extracurricular activities such as games and time with family and friends.

• It gives students the satisfaction of accomplishment and boosts their confidence both in and outside the classroom.

How can I help my child to be a good time manager?

• Have a list of all upcoming activities based on their priorities. Include all essential activities and rest time too.

• Set aside study or homework time and code subjects with different colors to understand the schedule quickly.

• Encourage your child to start working on assignments early to avoid a last-minute rush.

• Break large projects into small manageable chunks, and give each chunk a new due day. Meeting smaller goals will encourage them to keep on working.

• Discourage them from multitasking since divided attention leads to ineffective progress.

• Minimize mental and physical distractions.

• Encourage your child always to start their activities early.

• Allow your child to have regular breaks amid their activities to avoid the build-up of fatigue.



 “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” 

Mark Twain

One crucial way to manage time is to shun procrastinating and encourage your child never to put away essential or urgent activities because they find them unpleasant. On the other hand, let them not multitask or try to accomplish too much within a short time. Significantly, help them to be calm regardless of the tasks at hand.

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