Teaching Your Child Time Management


As the school year winds down, your child is ready to be done with it all! Whether you have a pre-school child ready to move on to kindergarten next year or a high school senior embarking to college, both are going to experience major changes in their lives—including a shift in time. The end of the school year can be the perfect season to help your kids develop time management skills that are vital for success throughout their lives.

A Developmental Perspective

One of the biggest complaints that Littleton child behavior psychologists hear is that kids are slow. Slow to get dressed, slow to get homework done, and all of a sudden, things start getting rushed, done at the last minute, or missed entirely. To keep your wits and help your kids develop theirs, make sure that your expectations are appropriate to your child’s age. In the preschool crowd, time is generally limited to just a few minutes or hours into the future. When your 3-year-old asks “are we there yet?” and asks again just 20 minutes later (on your cross-country road trip!), don’t get frustrated. To him, 20 minutes doesn’t seem unreasonable to drive from Colorado to Maine… and that 20 minutes probably felt like 20 hours. As kids get older, learn to tell time, and experience more timed events (30-minute TV shows, 45-minute classes, etc.), these skills develop.

Teaching Skills

  • Help your child understand how long common tasks take. Getting a basic grasp of how long it takes to shower, finish 10 math story problems, walk the dog around the block twice, or style the perfect hair can help to plan effectively. Teens and adults, especially those with ADHD, often struggle to realize the amount of time they spend on tasks .
  • For your child to have good time management, they must learn a variety of steps. One of the biggest is the passage of time, which does come somewhat with age, but can be developed in other ways as well. For example…
  • Note the time frequently, and connect it with real events. “We are going to the park and play for an hour today! That’s as long as it takes to drive to Grandma’s house, but it will seem much faster!” or, perhaps “
  • Speed it up! For the “pokey puppy” out there, encourage speedy performance in a fun way . This can include the classic “last one there’s a rotten egg” sort of games, a personal “world record” for common tasks, and playing speed response games together. Teach your child to “turn on” the speed. This can be a great topic to pursue through play therapy in Highlands Ranch.

Taking Breaks

As a final note, remember that most people can’t perform their fastest, or their best, on a consistent basis. Sprinters go faster than distance runners. Encourage your child to schedule breaks, not only to keep themselves sane, but to keep productivity and time on track. If your child’s time management skills seem very much below that of his or her peers, or if simple strategies don’t work, consider consulting with a child psychologist in Littleton. Dr. Lazarus is skilled in helping children achieve at their highest levels.


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