Time management skills are vital for our children and teens

The importance of children learning and developing time management skills at a young age cannot be under estimated. The earlier a child starts the more likely they will establish good foundations for time management that are useful not only at school but as teenagers and then throughout their lives.  Personally as an organising expert I believe that we should be teaching our children time management skills just like we teach them to read and write.  We often hear that the difference between successful and unsuccessful people can be their ability to manage time so we should also be ensuring our children and teens are effective time managers too.

The good news is if your child or teen isn’t a good time manager as yet then this skill can be taught and learned so you haven’t missed the boat so to speak.

So what is time management?Analogue Clock helps with time management

I regularly ask this question when I run workshops for students of all ages as it lays the foundation for the sessions.  The definition I use is quite simple – ‘it is the ability to use one’s time effectively and productively’ or in other words it’s about knowing how long something will take, sticking to a schedule and then making the most of the time you have to get done what you need to get done.

Your children have probably known how to tell the time since kindergarten or primary school.  This is great and is one important aspect of time management as it focuses on the present.  When I talk about time management thought it is not just about children or teen’s being able to read and tell the time.

In order for a child of any age to really understand time they need to understand time sense which is about being able to visualise it and unless they can they will not really learn how to manage it properly.   In other words in order to create a sense of time in our children they need to see time passing, understand what time is and know how long something will take.   It needs to be relatable so that they can understand and learn.

Younger children like the age of 2 and 3 like routines but usually live mostly in the present whereby their sense of time involves either the now or not now and they struggle to learn to wait.  For 5 & 6 year olds they start to develop a better understanding of the past, present and future.   This age group can anticipate events and starts to develop a grasp of what next week means compared to tomorrow and a long time ago.  7-10 year olds have developed the understanding of basic arithmetic which allows them to use clocks and calendars.  Then for older children and into their teens they build on all of these foundations and have more sense of the now and not now as well as how long something should take.

Why can learning time management be difficult?

As I previously said children and teens need to see time and these days that can be a challenge.  They are surrounded by digital media as well as digital clocks which can hinder the development of a their sense of time management.   Digital clocks don’t allow for children and teens to see that time has a beginning, middle and end.  These clocks show the ‘now’ time only.

The best way to teach this is to have analogue clocks in homes and schools so children can see time move.  They can then see not only the present time but the time elapsing and then the future time as well.  All of these are important to understanding and learning time management.  A colleague of mine in the US actually suggests having an analogue clock in every room that children spend time in to assist this process.  Many homes I go into these days may only have one or two analogue clocks.  Let me get you to have an think about how many you have in your home?

time timer helps with learning time managementAnother useful tool for teaching time management could be something like the time timer.  This is great for visual learners and helps make time real.  The time timer is similar to that of a clock however it is is numbered in one minute increments and counts down from 60-1.  The beauty of the time timer is it allows a child to see time passing and they can easily see the time that has elapsed and what time is remaining.

Remember it is important for your child to not only be able to tell the time but to understand time not only has a beginning but a middle and an end.  This will allow them to utilise the time that have better when they need to do so!

If you have a child that is struggling with time management and you are not sure what to do then get in touch (amanda@organisingyou.com.au) so we can start to rectify that right now.

Start 2016 more organised – 5 tips

At the start of every new year I usually have several calls from people who want to get more organised.  Does this sound like a goal of yours?  Personally I love the fact that this time of year people start talking about getting more organised.  Everyone has good intentions at the beginning of the New Year and its great if you are able to not only set yourself up and be more organised but then maintain it as the year goes on.  So do you want to start 2016 more organised?2016

One area of organisation is time and unfortunately this is not something we can buy more of so it is a matter of being organised and managing the time you do have.  Here are 5 tips to start 2016 more organised and manage your time better in the new year:

  1. Create a daily schedule – know what you have and when.  This is particularly important if you have a lot of different activities in your household.  I know I would be lost without my trusty old paper diary.  You might be more comfortable with an electronic diary and that is okay too as long as you are using something and not relying on your memory!  There are plenty of options available and when you decide what to use make sure you put in all the important dates that you have scheduled already.
  2. Schedule time  – Another tip is to schedule in your diary those tasks that you have been wanting to do but have yet to get around to.  By putting them in you are more likely to commit to them.
  3. Get better at saying no – it is great when we offer to help and do things for others but sometimes at what cost.  If you barely have enough time in the day now then this might be something you have to consider.  If you find this hard to do then start small with family and friends by saying no to little things.  Personally this has been a goal of mine for the past 12 months and I’m pleased to say I have one more volunteer project to complete then I’m having a break and focusing on myself, my family and business for awhile.
  4. Seek help from others – don’t try and do it all yourself.  It is okay to delegate to others and if you have other family members maybe it is a good time to teach them or ask them to help.  A simple one for me towards the end of 2015 was asking my husband to iron my sons school shirts as I was struggling to fit that in from time to time.  My next goal on this front is to teach my son to do it himself – wish me luck!
  5. Schedule in some down time – Often we feel stressed about time or lack of it if we don’t ensure we take a break.  It is important to schedule in time to relax so you can reset and focus once in awhile.  For me I like to ensure I get to the gym 3-4 times a week and it is one of my non-negotiable things as it helps me to stay on top even when I am really busy.

What are some ways that help you stay on top of your time?  Do you think any of these might assist you?

For more information or if you would like some assistance with organisation or time management in your life then please get in touch to see how I can assist you – amanda@organsingyou.com.au or give me a call on 0409 967 166.

Students and Time Management

This month I participated in this Students and Time Management – Professional Organisers Blog Carnival put together by one of my professional organising colleagues Janet Barclay based in the US.  

Click Here to read my BLOG about tips on setting up a homework environment that I contributed.  You can also read other BLOGS from student organisers around the world (mainly in the US) on students and time management.

Want to know more about students and time management then you can visit my other blogs on this subject by clicking here.