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Time Management: A guide for parents to inculcate this skill in children

Written by: Malak Tariq

Time is money. We often hear this quote or words which emphasize the value of time. Rightfully so, how we spend our time eventually defines how we spend our days, weeks, months, years and eventually - life. Time is an important asset given to us all and how we perceive time can be closely related to our daily routine.

Children, in particular, possess cognitive minds and they grasp the impression of their surroundings. Their everyday routine makes an impression on them and defines their fundamental relationship with time. If parents find themselves constantly asking their children- ‘Hurry Up! Why are you always late?!?!?! Have you still not packed your school bag?’

Then it is a sign enough to know that there needs to be conversations and practices around Time Management.

Time Management is the process of planning and exercising conscious control of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency and productivity.

Time Management is important for children to understand the balance between work and play. It is essential for children to maintain this balance early on as it will benefit their personal and professional lives. Proper time management can help children achieve their small as well as long tasks related to academics, activities and aspirations. In today’s world, children have to juggle a lot of commitments - school, assignments, projects, coaching classes, activities and hobbies. It indeed is also a privilege to have these activities in students' daily routines. With such privilege and power, responsibilities tug along greatly.

Parents should also realize that time management saves the stress and wastage of resources, which would show up if there is no control over routines and emotions.

Here are 6 tips to manage time:

1. Set Priorities:

Parents should realize what activities are important for their children and communicate that to their children. It is also important to take the child’s opinion before setting priorities. Also, set a reasonable bedtime for the child so they can get proper sleep.

2. Make a checklist of your child’s activities:

During school times, children follow the same cycle of their routine. Get up, take shower, get dressed, go to school and come back with homework etc. Parents should work with their children to get stuff done. Parents can make a personal care checklist and an age-appropriate chore list for children. If children are clueless about how to spend their free time or when to finish their homework, guide them to the checklist, it will bring accountability and ideas for activities to take up.

3. Impart the importance of planning and organizing:

There are times and tasks in life where planning for a chore goes a long way. Teach your children the virtues of planning and organizing in small steps like packing their bags a night before school, waking up right in time to get ready for school and keeping their toys, notebooks, shoes and all their belongings neatly.

4. Handle Distractions:

Computer or mobile games and TV Time are well known to parents. Children indulge in these activities and take up screen time. It is important for parents to regulate these activities. Parents should make sure that screen time does not eat away from other important activities like eating, reading and sleeping.

5. Create a picture schedule:

Stick colourful charts, prompts or whiteboard displays in your child’s room when it comes to drawing up schedules. This will help the children in following the schedules as it would stimulate their visual consciousness. Parents should search for DIY-craft skills and make these cards, calendars and charts with their children.

6. Avoid Procrastination:

Putting off tasks for later times ultimately leads to stress and if parents have this pattern then it can very well trickle into children. Children should be taught the value of completing work on time instead of putting it off.

7. Find a place for everything

Parents should spend quality time with their children. Family time without distractions can also help children realize the importance of “time for rest and recreation”. A good walk in a park, gardening, baking, a light-hearted yet important movie, indoor and outdoor games and a good, and age-appropriate book can be great sources for wholesome times. Along with that, keeping a time for studies where parents actively help and listen to and help children, balances the work play equation.

8. Parents should set a good example time and again:

This is the most significant way by which parents can help their children in time management. Children do not do what their parents say, they do what they see. Therefore, parents should manage their time and routines in a disciplined manner regularly. When parents put their phones down at a specific time and fix a time for sleeping and eating, children follow and absorb such traits. It is teamwork of parents to ensure that a fundamental and good skill like time management is inculcated in children.

Nelson Mandela rightly said ‘We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.’ He spent 27 years of his life in jail and had an arduous journey with time yet he took it in his stride. He made sure he did what he intended to, when the time was ripe and he believed, the time is always ripe when it comes to doing something worthwhile. Doing things of purpose along with things that make us content, is the key. When children learn this balance at home, it transcends the boundaries and they incorporate time management in all work and play. Parents can walk along making sure that children thrive in all spheres of work, play and rest in their growing years.

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