Teaching Time Management Saves Time

School has either started or about to start. This is the perfect time to do scheduling with your children. Scheduling before school resumes helps to make life run smoothly once hectic schedules begin. 

The first place to start is knowing how much time different activities take to complete. Making a game for determining how much time is taken tying shoes, brushing teeth, combing hair, and getting dressed helps children grasp the concept of elapsed time. These are huge time eaters that children don't consider when preparing to leave for school in the morning. 

Knowing how much time is necessary to get from one location to another will also reduce early morning stress. Playing the time guessing game while traveling to different locations will support children and give real life meaning to elapsed time. When a teacher says, "You have five more minutes to complete this task," children who have played elapsed time games will have a better grasp of what five minutes feels like to them. 

Decide on a location to keep backpacks and school materials. If they are kept in the same place, preferably close to the exit, children won't waste mornings looking for them. 

Prominently displayed visual schedules are important when eliminating poor planning. Planning activities each Sunday sets the tone for a well organized week. It is an activity my daughter does with her family each weekend. They coordinate drop-offs and pick-ups so the children always know who is going to be picking them up each day. The children decide when they will be doing their chores, homework, baths, TV time, or play time. They also record their sports and extra-curricular activities.

My daughter created a 18" X  24" schedule for my grandson. She made puzzle like pieces out of laminated paper for each of his activities and responsibilities. These pieces represented the exact time he predicted each activity would take. A thirty minute activity was twice the length of a fifteen minute activity. Velcro strips were placed on the board and on each of the activity pieces. She decided where her non-negotiable scheduled items such as dinner and bedtime would be placed. Then my grandson placed the pieces that were expressly his responsibility.

As the developer of the Homework Solutions method and promoter of Proper Prior Planning to Prevent a Poor Performance, I was thrilled as I watched and listened to him talk his way through the process. "I could watch a little TV right after school, but I probably would watch too long, so I think I will do my chores first, because I have had enough of school work right after school and don't want to do homework until later." He verbalized his reasons for each of his placements. It was clear that he had learned from previous unsuccessful schedules.

The initial process required my daughter's assistance with placement by offering him some scenarios that might occur. He made the decisions and at the end of each day she asked him how he felt about his scheduling. If he didn't feel that day's schedule was effective, he was free to make necessary changes he felt would be more successful for the next day. Since the pieces were velcro backed, it was easy for him to move pieces around to facilitate better results. She had initially used a laminated schedule and a dry erase pen, but using the pieces that represented time, made a bigger impact on him. 

Sleep is highly under rated. Too much time is lost when children don't get adequate or quality sleep. Tasks take longer to complete, thinking is not clear, and their disposition is adversely impacted by a lack of sleep. Quality sleep is not ten hours of sleep. It is ten hours of sleep that allows children to go deep into sleep and come out to REM sleep several times a night. If children go to sleep too late, they may sleep for ten hours, but never go deep. Getting them adjusted to a regular sleep pattern at least two weeks prior to school resuming will facilitate quality sleep that creates a smooth transition and provides the best performance for students. Click here to read Melissa Olivadoti PhD.'s Sleep in Children: A Practical Guide for Parents for ideas to facilitate quality sleep. It's Free to subscribers today.

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