Time management is about using our time wisely. This is one of the lifeskills that we have to give our children.
Ordinary people think merely of spending time. Great people think of using it.
3 Tangible Time Management Tools
- To-do lists help us keep our focus. Though you may have one to-do list, that incorporates all aspects of your life, it is more helpful for our children to have a to-do list associated with a period of time in their day, especially in the training phases. E.g. Chore time will have a chore to-do list, school time will have a subjects/assignments to-do list, you may even have a to-do list that describes choices for free time, or unfinished projects.
- A daily routine will help our children come to an understanding of the measurement of time and the wise use of that time. When we build our routine around purpose, rather than just control, we are establishing these values in our children’s lives which will enable them to make independent decisions later on in life, to use their time wisely.
- A Diary has several benefits:
- It helps us look back and see what we’ve accomplished (or not). This is beneficial when we are learning to value our time.
- It is also a general organizational tool, so it can keep all our “to-do” lists in one place.
- When we write our commitments down in our diary it teaches us to value other people’s time.
A diary pulls all time management aspects together.
Each one of these management tools can be given to our children. Initially we may have a family chart (to-do list) or routine but at some stage it is helpful to give each child their individual charts/lists etc. When they begin to tick off their accomplishments or record their days, they will begin to take a sense of ownership on how they spend their time.
Just having these tools though isn’t going to make them work for you. You have to be held accountable to them. In our family we have a 10-15 minute family conference most mornings after family devotions. The older kids who are independent just confirm with me what their goals are for the day. With the younger ones, I go through the diary, through the day’s plans step by step so they have an understanding of what is ahead of them, what is expected of them. In this time we also discuss what they achieved yesterday, what the problems where and how they plan to address those issues. We discuss family commitments which may change their plans. Communication is a vital skill in time management that often gets overlooked. We are not managing ourselves in isolation, we are involved with other people and our time management needs to be flexible and fit in with those around us.
3 Intangible Time Management Tools
- Setting Goals is a whole subject on its own and yet we must know our goals before we set to and manage our time. Time management needs both short term and long term goals to be set. We need to model, teach and eventually expect our children to set goals which will assist them in using their time wisely.
- Prioritising is another skill that we need to be practicing when we manage our time, and it is something that so often happens in our head, subconsciously, without thinking. It is these types of thinking processes that are so important in training our children. We must stop, and break down these things that happen automatically for us, and explain them to our children. Talk to them about big picture, talk to them about priorities and the reason why you make such decisions.
- Habit is one of the most helpful things we can do in learning to manage our time. When our children do something over and over and over again (good or bad) a habit is formed. We have the opportunity to help our children use their time wisely, over and over and over again. We need to grab this opportunity, and see it as a training aspect in our children’s lives.