Most parents today are faced with extremely busy schedules and often end up postponing or missing out on important things. And more often than not we end up sacrificing on things we love to ensure that our duties and responsibilities get precedence. Effective time management is the one foolproof method to ensure that we get through the day without disruptions and confusion.
So is time management an inborn skill or an acquired one?
Time management if taught at an early age, can do wonders towards instilling discipline in children. And the benefits of this cultivated habit will remain with you throughout your life as you learn to balance your personal and professional lives in the long term.
Children today are struggling to fit in school, extracurricular activities, and tuitions over and above their regular dose of schedule which includes adequate hours for studying, playing and proper sleep and rest. With devices and TV added to this mix, it’s a wonder that children manage to apportion time for different activities adequately. Often it is sleep and rest that gets affected and sidelined in an attempt to fit in all else and this hinders growth and development of children in the long run.
But it’s not easy to get children to follow the clock or follow restrictions. And so our time management experts have come up with some brilliant life hacks that can help parents in ensuring a well-managed day for their kids. Let’s take a look at some of them –
Start with yourself
Children tend to watch and learn from their parents. So it’s imperative that parents cultivate and maintain the habit of proper scheduling and planning in their own lives. If parents are usually running against the clock and late for appointments then there is little scope for the children to understand and practice punctuality. Setting an example that they can follow and emulate is the best way to teach them the importance of time management.
Practice time estimation
It is not easy to get children to understand the concept of time at an early age. And setting time limits tends to be difficult as they are unable to gauge and understand the passage of time. Rigid and strict schedules or deadlines are meaningless to a toddler who cannot make sense of the hour or minute of day. Therefore to begin with children need to be helped to understand the concept of time following which they can be taught how to estimate the passage of time at a very basic level. This can be done using fun puzzles and activities.
Use timers/time limits to encourage promptness and presence of mind
One tool that helps children in understanding the importance of time and how to manage their time effectively is by using timers or setting time limits for their daily activities. Time limits for completing a simple task like say finishing their homework, or TV viewing or even daily play time can be done using timers or a clock and this in turn can teach them the importance of sticking to and working within an allotted time period. One good way of getting them to understand this is to make a to-do list of chores or activities that they need to complete within a preset time frame. And they can cross off the completed tasks from their list. This way they feel a sense of ownership and also learn how to manage the time allotted to them in the best way possible and to the best of their abilities.
Don’t let them develop the habit of procrastinating
A common practice among kids is using delaying tactics for the things they find boring or aren’t really fond of. Delaying tactics include spending too much time on a task they enjoy and then leaving unfinished or not completing those that are not to their liking. One other tactic is to procrastinate and put it off in the hope that it will be forgotten or then completed by someone else. To overcome this habit of procrastination, parents need to plan the day and activities by alternating boring or routine chores with fun alternatives, factor in breaks with rewards for finishing on time. By making it an enjoyable process, children can be taught to apportion time and balance their day in a way that keeps everyone happy.
Don’t create a fear of deadlines in children
One of the biggest threats that parents use when children postpone tasks is the dreaded “Last Date”. As parents it’s important to teach children not to push things to the last minute and then scramble for time forcing them to deliver something of mediocre quality. It is important to teach them how to plan their time by using easily accessible and understandable tools like time tables, and to do lists. Helping them complete their tasks on time, supervising their efforts and ensuring they finish their work with time to spare, will help do away with the fear of deadlines.
Use an Analog Clock
Small things make a great difference when done correctly. While digital clocks make reading time easy and simple, the concept of passage of time is not visible nor understood in that format. For that one needs the good old analog clocks with its moving hands that can clearly show the movement of time. By teaching your children to read the time looking at old fashioned analog clocks, you will be helping them understand the real nature of time and the value of not wasting precious time.