The importance of teaching children time management

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Time management is something that people struggle with for most of their lives, so it’s important to try and teach your children some of those skills early on.

The key to teaching your child time management is knowing how long each task should take, according to Katherine Firestone, found of the Fireborn Institute, a nonprofit that focuses on parent training.

Firestone says developing a morning music routine can help kids learn time management.

“It starts in the a.m. and it’s this lovely song, and as they go through the morning it gets a little bit faster and at each point, at each song, they know, ‘OK by this song, I need to be brushing my teeth. By this song, I need to be eating breakfast,'” she explained. “The last song is really exciting and when they hear it they know drop everything and just get to the car.”

Analog clocks are also a good tool to teach children about the passage of time, Firestone says.

“You put a sticker on the clock when they start working, and then when they finish you put another sticker on the clock and you see how long it has taken them to do five math problems,” she said. “That starts to help them understand how long their homework is going to take them.”

Be sure to mark distractions as well.

“Time robbers are anything that take you away from what you’re supposed to be doing,” Firestone said. “So it’s going to the bathroom. It’s getting a snack. It’s daydreaming. It’s looking on your phone. Then at the very end, when you’re going through this with your kid you say, ‘oh, I see that there’s a time robber. What happened?’ And just gently talk about it without judgement because if there’s any judgement – your kid is never going to want to do this with you again. But you talk about, ‘OK you needed to go to the bathroom, well let’s talk about how to make sure you go to the bathroom before you start your work so that you don’t get distracted next time.'”

If you’re planning to use the morning music routine, there’s no set number of songs you need. Playlists should be customized to each family’s schedule.