Teenagers have a lot of competing demands. Homework, extracurricular activities, friends, jobs, and chores all vie for their attention. Learning how to set priorities and manage their time wisely is a skill that will serve them well in adulthood.
Waiting until the last minute can backfire. If your student waits until Sunday night to complete an assignment due the next morning and a thunderstorm knocks out power, they risk turning in their work late. An occasional poor grade is one thing, but in the real world, a missed deadline will have much bigger repercussions. Teaching your teen time management skills now will benefit them in the following ways:
- Their grades will improve
- They’ll learn responsibility and independence
- There will be less anxiety and stress as deadlines approach
- They’ll have more free time to spend with friends and family
- They’ll develop good habits that will carry over to their career
Practice what you preach
Be a good role model by managing your own time wisely. If you’re always scrambling to make it out the door on time or constantly missing appointments, you’re sending a message that time management isn’t a top priority.
Teach your teen to focus on time
Some teens have a very limited awareness of time. You can help them better understand the concept by having them wear a watch, making sure there are plenty of analog clocks in the house (allowing them to visually recognize elapsed time), and using a timer when working on school assignments.
Provide time management tools
Visualization is key when it comes to managing an abstract concept such as time. Invest in an academic planner or assignment book, encourage them to write to-do lists, use calendars, and set alarms. Many of these tools are available as free smartphone apps. This is fine, but having a visual will benefit your student in the long run.
Technology is beneficial in many ways, but smartphones and other electronic devices can be huge distractions. Set limits on their use and monitor your child’s social media habits and video game playing time to make sure they don’t interfere with homework and other priorities.
Kids might balk over too rigid a structure, but routines are a great way to help them learn to prioritize tasks and manage time. Consistency is key; serving meals at the same time every evening, setting aside certain hours for homework, and insisting on a regular bedtime will eliminate any confusion over what your child should be focusing on at any given moment.
WORDS: MARK PETRUSKA