How to: develop time management skills with kids

How to: develop time management skills with kids

5 thoughts to spark time management skills young, so your children can learn good habits early

We’ve chatted about time management skills before with our five family planner hacks – but today we’re breaking down how to instill the same skills in your kids. The earlier you involve them in your decision making process around how you prioritize time as a family, the more likely it is they’ll be empowered to manage their time better. Here’s a few quick suggestions to get you started:

Create a Schedule – and involve your kids in the process.

You can’t manage time if you don’t know what time you have or know what needs to be done. Consider creating a skeleton of what you think it needs to have, then get your kids involved. Ask them to estimate how much time they think something might take, and help them understand why their estimation is either accurate or not. This dialogue will serve as an example of how to even begin to manage their time as you explain why it is important.


Prioritize their tasks.

Once you have your list / schedule, it’s time to figure out what must be done, what would be nice to accomplish, and what can wait until the next day. Learning early on that it is normal to not get everything done in one day is important to create reasonable expectations and leave room for improvement. Teaching this to your kids might be a little trickier than simply creating a schedule – it might be best to tackle day by day. Here’s how to get started:

  • Ask your kids to help create a list of chores and things to do. Come prepared with a couple tasks, but let them add to it as well.
  • Categorize each task as “must be done”, “nice to get done”, or “it can wait” (perhaps organized with green, yellow, red). Have your kids help organize these categories.
  • From the “must get done” category, mark the number one priority and let them mark number two.
  • With what is left, explain that the two things you marked are the most important and what should be done first. For example, doing your homework and walking the dog comes before video games with friends. This not only teaches prioritization, but can often motivate them and teach them early on to complete work before “play”.


Let them learn the hard way sometimes.

It’s okay to mess up and it’s okay to miss priorities. Whether it was in or out of our control, there are going to be imperfect days. The sooner your kids learn this, the better off they will be. It might be easier to do things for them, but letting them try and fail is imperative to growing up. On the flip side – let them see when this happens to you too and how you respond to fix it.


Be an example.

On that note, be a role model for your kids. Let them see how you live out your time management skills, both good and bad. Your real life examples will go far. Kids pick up on more than we realize!


We hope this post helps you instill a sense of responsibility in your kids as they learn to manage their time!


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