How to Teach Time Management Skills to Kids


Last Updated on

There are so many habits and behaviours of kids that we have all accepted as the usual aspects, that many parents rarely see them as signs of improvement as they begin growing into adolescence and finally into adults. Waking up late each day, having trouble preparing in time for school, struggling to complete homework every day within the stipulated time, forgetting how to prioritise things, are all aspects of childhood. When understanding how to teach your kid time management, these are the very aspects that need to be worked upon. Your child does need help in understanding that time is a treasure and learning to make the best of it is a skill best learnt early in life.

Easy Ways To Teach Your Child Time Management Skills

Your kids don’t need to start using spreadsheets and advanced techniques to manage their time better. By focusing on the everyday aspects of their life and helping them handle those better in the first place, you can lay the foundation for them to build their management skills upon.

1. Don’t Be A Boss

Before parents even begin to do so, it is necessary to understand that you don’t have to be the boss to your kids. Learning the skill of managing time is a change that kids experience in their undisturbed lives, and they will take time to adjust to it. Do your best to see things from their perspective and be a part of the learning process they undertake. This gives them the support and guidance they need, which does not emerge if you function as a manager and simply ask them to manage their time better. Give them the information and help they need and let them execute it by themselves thereafter.

2. Maintain A Communication Channel

When adapting a new skill or a new style of life, kids will face certain obstacles or roadblocks and will need help and guidance around them. Encourage them to ask for help and establish an equation that allows your children to talk to you about the problems they face. This could be around struggling to keep in-line with school timings, or having issues with focusing on homework when they come back. Remember that your child is not the problem, the circumstance is. Address the circumstance and work together in coming up with a solution that helps your kid.


3. Keep A Focused Study Area

The main issue that parents have around kids failing to focus on their homework or unable to complete it within time revolves mostly around the surrounding environment and atmosphere. A place which has television, constant ongoing conversations, and tons of other distractions isn’t a healthy environment for a kid that is struggling with focusing on his studies. Allocate a room or a time that functions as a study zone and let your kid study without any distractions. Arrange the area appropriately as well to reduce visual distraction, too.

4. Regulated Use Of Devices

Playing games on handheld gaming devices or mobile screens is what we see kids do most often these days. Be strict about this right off the bat and establish specific timings to use these devices for recreation. Keep a rule around playing them only after completing the homework if your child has trouble with it. In all cases, restrict their use as much as possible, at least a few hours before their scheduled bedtime. And even yours as well.

5. Have Meals Together As A Family

The erratic schedules of work and home can make it difficult for everyone to sit together at the table and enjoy a meal together. But do your best to inculcate that habit, since it sets to work certain internal biological markers as well. Having dinner together can be a great time to catch up with each other’s lives and mentally conclude a day that allows your brain to get into a relaxed mode as well. A set dinner time also lets your child know to finish all the work he has before it.

6. Hand The Tools To The Kids

Gradually, advise your kid to start streamlining his own responsibilities. If the morning time of reaching the school is always rushed, let your child know that he needs to pack his bag once dinner is done and before he goes to bed. If there is anything that needs to be procured for the next day, advise your kid to inform that as soon as he gets home from school. Teach him to maintain a checklist of sorts that he can show to you if he needs your help with any activity.

7. A Time Reference For Your Child

Understanding time management is one thing. Seeing it in action is a completely different activity. Get a clock for your kid’s room or his study desk so that he can check the time regularly. By having a good idea of how time passes by, your child will learn to inculcate an internal discipline of pacing his efforts and activities to stay in-line with the schedule.


8. Creating Your Own Calendar

A child’s day rarely ends after he returns back to school. There are other classes he might have to attend or go to the playground to play a particular sport or meet up with friends to work together on a school project. All these activities are difficult for a kid to keep track of mentally. Get him a simple planner or a calendar with daily time slots mentioned in it. Help your kid with gauging the approximate time required for each activity, and schedule it accordingly. This removes the mental pressure of planning from your child and he can simply refer to the calendar and know what needs to be done.

9. Lists Are Better Than Routines

The brains of kids are highly wired to respond to validation. Adults may understand the benefits of sticking to a routine, but kids do not. On the other hand, kids respond really well to knowing that they have completed what is expected of them. Use this to your advantage by morphing their schedule into a to-do list of sorts. This gives your child the satisfaction of completing all the activities assigned for the day and instill a sense of success within him. It also negates any possibilities of having missed out a particular item on the routine, since it will be very clear what remains to be done, thanks to the list.

10. Fixed Times Of Sleep

Make sure this stays a top priority for kids no matter what. Children require a set amount of good sleep to support their growth and allow their brain to form new connections. Since most schools begin early, work backwards from that time and work out a time that your kid needs to be in the bed by, so that he gets at least 10 hours of sleep on a daily basis.

Time Management Activities For Children

Inculcating the habit of managing time in children can be achieved by turning those skills into interesting activities. Right from making time management worksheet for kids to using a multitude of techniques that are fun to execute, your kid can start learning the ropes of time management within no time.

1. The Puzzle Of Time

If your child is a fan of solving puzzles and looking at the bigger picture, make use of the same technique to teach him time management basics as well.


What You Will Need

How To Do

  • Sit your child down for a discussion and talk to him in figuring out what might be the possible ways that lead him to waste the time. This is where your kid might need some clarity in understanding why playing video games for a long time and watching television for long hours also counts as time wasted. This lies in parallel with simply sitting with the book open and having the mind wander elsewhere.
  • Once a little clarity is achieved, let your child start scribbling important aspects around it on the cardboard. Even a simple phrase like “too much TV” or “video games” or “no focus” are enough for him to recall the core idea.
  • With all the ideas on the cardboard, draw lines between them to separate each idea into a specific section. Those lines then mark the individual pieces for each idea. Use the scissors and let your child cut those pieces out.
  • Your puzzle is ready. Keep these pieces in a box and let your child put them together anytime he has a confusion regarding what constitutes as time wasted in any form.

2. Fill Up The Jar

Metaphors can be difficult for children to understand, but not if they are accompanied by a fun game that drives the message ahead.


What You Will Need

  • A Jar
  • Large stones of various sizes
  • Small pebbles of different shapes

How To Do

  • Let your child know the basic rule of the game. He needs to use a combination of big stones and small pebbles to fill the jar. All the big stones need to be used for sure, but there have to some small stones, too.
  • Run a test by yourself to understand the exact number of stones and allocate the same to your child, with more pebbles than needed.
  • Once your child starts playing the game, he will make a number of attempts to fit all the large stones in the jar and fail to do so. Avoid jumping in to help him out or pass any comments on how he’s performing.
  • When he manages to fit them all properly, explain to him that the large stones represent activities that are important and cannot be avoided. Only when we have fit them the right way, do we have the time to pursue any other smaller activities represented by the pebbles.

3. Task Closures

Earn points every time you end up respecting time.


What You Will Need

How To Do

  • Choose an activity such as colouring a particular drawing and allocate a fixed time to it.
  • Make sure you both do it together with the catch that you can go to the next activity only when both have completed it in time.
  • Be the devil and waste time on your cell phone while your child completes the activity. He will then have to wait as you are lagging behind. This makes it evident to him how important time truly is.

4. Time-Based Activities

Creating a planner but with fixed duration for each activity.


What You Will Need

  • Coloured chart paper
  • Coloured pencils
  • A small notebook

How To Do

  • Make a list of all activities that your child does on a daily basis.
  • Talk to your child and figure out a duration for each of them.
  • Write the activity and the duration on the chart paper using pencils, such as “brushing teeth – 10 minutes”, “taking a bath – 10 minutes” and so on.
  • Hang this chart in your child’s room and ask him to finish each task within the stipulated time each day.

5. First Things First

Teach your little one the concept of prioritization with this simple activity.


What You Will Need

  • Different papers
  • Coloured pencils

How To Do

  • Write different activities each on a piece of paper and spread them in front of your child.
  • Let your child reach each activity and number the reverse side of the paper with the priority rank it needs.
  • He will end up scratching and correcting the priority numerous times before he gets it all right.

Employing time management strategies for kids is not as easy as it seems. This is a skill that makes its need relevant only when we reach adulthood, and then learning it can be quite difficult. Using interesting games and techniques can make time management a habit for your child, and be beneficial to him when he grows up.

Also Read:

Ways to Teach Kids about Money Management
How to Teach Your about Child Table Manners
Moral Values You Must Teach Your Kids

Previous articleEasy to Do Stretches for Kids – Exercises and Activities
Next articleHow to Teach Children to Read Clock and Tell Time