Guide for Middle Schoolers (6th-8th Grade).
Middle school can be challenging for your child since they are expected to be more independent and responsible than when in elementary school.
Unlike in lower grades, middle schoolers receive multiple homework assignments from different teachers but with fewer reminders of due time. Besides increased assignments, they are expected to work on broader projects and extensive papers over a designated period.
10 best time management tips for middle schoolers:
Effective time management skills are applicable not only in middle school but also in higher studies and future careers!
1. Help them Create a Schedule:
One of the most effective ways to improve your pre-teen or teen’s time management skills is to help them create a daily schedule. Your child may not successfully manage time if they don’t understand the available time at their disposal. Most of them overestimate the time available, which leaves them with insufficient time to accomplish all tasks, including homework and chores. Assist your child in creating an outline of their day’s duties and arrange them as per their priorities.
While many schools provide schedules for learners, most don’t give a schedule to guide them at home. However, teachers and parents can help students manage their time by creating a program to work with while at home. A plan allows your child to account for all their activities, including those often overlooked, such as time spent transitioning to and from school, eating, hobbies, and getting ready for bed.
Knowing all tasks that need to be accomplished daily helps middle schoolers figure out how to get everything done. In addition, good knowledge of available time improves your child’s time management skills and reduces a need to control them.
2. Eliminate Distractions:
Distractions contribute highly to affecting students’ daily activity. Distractions can include random chats with friends and constant checking of social media. Many people, including adults, don’t know how much time they spend on distractive activities. The lack of focus due to distractions interrupts learners’ productivity, workflow, and creativity and adds pressure and stress.
Eliminate distractions as much as possible from your child’s working space to improve their focus on their homework assignment and studies. You can eliminate distractions such as television video games, among other potential distractions. In addition, ensure that your child turns off their cell phone and is not logged in on any social media accounts when working on a computer. Let them understand the need to eliminate these distractions and reward them when they successfully get rid of them. Lack of distractions will improve students’ time management abilities and make them more productive.
3. Set Goals:
Encourage and help your child to set goals every day. For example, they can determine the number of pages to read in a storybook and determine the number of math questions to complete daily, among others. Please help your child prioritize their tasks by putting the most important and time-sensitive ones ahead of others.
Setting goals will motivate your child, build their self–efficacy, and make them more responsible. However, setting goals without a plan of achieving them is only a wishful thought. Help your students reach their goals by breaking them into small achievable steps. Also, recognize every milestone they achieve and celebrate every success. On the other hand, help them reflect and identify where they went wrong if they don’t successfully achieve their goals.
You can encourage your child to use the SMART goal-setting method for better performance.
SMART is an acronym of:
Specific – These are well-defined, unambiguous, and clear goals
Measurable – Good goals should have specific criteria to measure their progress towards accomplishment.
Achievable – Good goals are attainable depending on a person’s ability.
Realistic goals – Realistic goals are reachable and relevant to a person’s life purpose.
Time-sensitive – When setting goals, we should include a well-defined timeline, including when to start and the target date. Time-sensitive dates help in creating urgency for work and promote time management.
4. Discourage Procrastination:
When creating a study schedule, always include due dates to help the middle schooler see when they are due and plan how to finish every work. Then, sit them down every week to review upcoming tests and assignments and schedule time to work on them before they are due.
Developing the ability to complete all assignments on time and not wait until the last minute helps children develop good study habits. They also develop good time management skills that serve them throughout their lives.
5. Avoid Multitasking:
Many people tend to feel more productive when they do several things simultaneously. However, scientists state that switching between tasks in rapid succession can slow us down and waste time! Multitasking is equally bad among learners since it hinders their productivity. A student who multitasks has lower comprehension abilities and struggles to focus on what they are doing.
Trying to switch between tasks slows down students’ performances while also causing them more fatigue. Instead, help your teen avoid multitasking by teaching them to focus on one task until it is accomplished.
6. Take Regular Breaks:
Please encourage your child to take frequent short breaks during their study time. For example, they can take a break of 10 minutes after every 40 minutes of study. Trying to work on a single assignment for too wrong can cause your child to fatigue or cause their mind to wander. By taking a break, the brain gets an opportunity to recharge and focus, causing time to be more valuable.
NOTE: Your child should not get into social media during the short breaks since it does not give their brain room for relaxation.
Some of the activities that your child can engage in during their break include meditation, taking a walk, taking a shower, dancing, listening to music, cooking a healthy meal, organizing their workspace, and taking a 15 minutes power nap.
7. Get Enough Sleep:
One of the best ways to help your child recharge is by ensuring that they get enough sleep. Sleep refreshes their body and mind causing them to focus more on the task. Middle schoolers should sleep about 8 to 12 hours per night based on their age. When creating a study schedule for your child, remember to set bedtime. Having a structured routine helps them remain focused on their work and sleep on time.
8. Model good time management habits:
As a parent, learn to practice good time management habits, and your child will follow suit. If you keep missing deadlines, your child will follow the same habit. Manage your time wisely and show your child how to accomplish their tasks on time.
Be a role model through direct interactions with your children and set examples through your behavior and attitude at home and in other environments. Address their concerns with patience, be present in their challenges, and maintain a constructive perspective. By so doing, you will contribute to their personal growth and development.
9. Set limits on electronics.
Children waste a lot of time on social media or playing video games, and if you don’t limit them, they can postpone a lot of essential activities. Establish rules on how they should use digital devices and use phones. Make sure such devices don’t interfere with their sleeping hours too.
10. Avoid nagging.
Many children report nagging behavior from parents as one of the major problems they encounter. Parents innocently nag their children as they try to remind them of their duties. But unfortunately, they don’t know that telling teens repeatedly what they should be doing reduces their responsibility.
Nagging behavior can cause your children to be resentful. The children may also feel controlled and unloved, something that will cause them to pull away. Nagging is a negative behavior since it primarily focuses on the negative rather than celebrating your child’s achievements.
Most of the time, a nagging parent sees faults in their children, making the children wear down rather than build them up. Remember, children model our behavior. If you are a nag, they will also be nagging. Rather than constantly reminding your child to do their duties, set rules and consequences whenever necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What should I do if my middle schooler lacks enough time to accomplish all their tasks?
It is not strange for middle schoolers to feel like they don’t have enough time to accomplish their activities and schedules. In such cases, you look for something to drop, such as a hobby. Let your child understand why it is essential to sacrifice one of their favorite activities; else, they will suffer the consequences of not accomplishing their tasks. Middle school learning involves more activities and commitments than elementary school, and therefore learners should learn the importance of prioritizing.
Let your child know that though they have many opportunities, not all of them need to fit into their busy schedule. Encourage them to say “no” to activities that make them unfocused or unproductive. For example, your child should say “no” to an invitation to a slumber party a night before their test. They can also say no to some extracurricular activities to get enough time to accomplish their home chores.
Why is learning time management skills critical to a middle schooler?
Middle school is an excellent time for your child to learn time management. By understanding effective skills to manage their tasks, they will be well-prepared for high school demands. In addition, teachers and parents should teach teens essential time management to give them a good foundation for higher education and future career.
Effective time management also allows your child to complete more tasks within a shorter time. Fewer distractions and more focus leave them with sufficient time, which reduces their stress. Proper time management also motivates students since it gives them a sense of achievement. Good time management helps students complete tasks on time, remain well-engaged with learning, have more time to pursue other activities such as youth groups, hobbies, and sports, and spend time with family and friends. They also expand on their abilities and enjoy satisfaction brought by accomplishment. Proper time management is also a likable skill n career.
Can a student have a time management obsession?
Yes. Students can have an obsession with time management. While we all want our children to develop good time management skills, obsessive time management can be counterproductive. Students may feel stressed and anxious if they try too hard to use their time effectively.
“Productivity is never an accident: It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” ― Paul J. Meyer.
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