Time Management Activities
Remember those timed levels in the Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog games? You had to prioritize and be quick enough to beat the clock but careful enough not to land on spikes or throw yourself off a cliff. This is valuable practice with the time management thinking skill, and your kid gets the most out of it when you get involved in their digital playtime.
Talking about and playing video games with your kids not only gives them validation and support, it offers you opportunities to help them reflect on and make connections between the skills they use in the game and the skills they use in the real world. You can help them take that practice to the next level by working on one or more of these activities together.
Talk about time management strategies as you use them to accomplish tasks. This “verbal modeling” also includes some components of planning such as stating out loud, “First I’ll get the water boiling for the pasta, and then I’ll start on the salad.” After I put the pasta into the water, I’ll finish the salad, heat up the sauce, then drain the pasta and we can eat dinner.” Explain why you go to the bank and the grocery store on the same trip. Encourage your child to verbalize strategies for managing workloads, chores, or homework more efficiently.
Visual schedules can help with time management. Have a large, monthly family calendar to write on, and record any appointments and events in the order in which they will occur on a given day. Post schedules, particularly for weekends when children have many activities. Casually mention how you will attempt to complete your tasks efficiently, for example, grocery shopping while a child is at a karate lesson. Use different colored markers to prioritize and make a point to emphasize how you can use your time efficiently between dropping kids off for different activities and taking care of household tasks. Encourage your child to use a similar process of prioritizing on completing homework, playing with friends, taking care of chores and attending extracurricular activities.
Directly instruct children in test-taking strategies like prioritization. Teach them to answer all of the questions they know the answers to before spending time on more difficult questions. Teach them how to construct very brief outlines in response to essay questions and how to maximize the amount of time they will have to complete a test by sitting towards the front of the class, having all materials ready and available upon receiving the test, and having a watch that can be used as a timer so that they are aware of how much time they have left to complete the test.
Randomly ask them, “What time is it?” or “How long has it been since we left the house?” Be certain that you can give them the exact amount of time that has elapsed. By doing this, you will make your child more cognizant of time and the passage of time as it related to his own life. Help them get better at estimating by using technologies that help with time management. In addition to alarm clocks, digital watches and stock apps on smartphones, there are products and apps designed specifically for enhancing time awareness and time management. These include the “talking timer” from Tel-Time and apps like Week Calendar, Timer+, and Boximize.