by Rachel Paxton
Do you ever feel like there's not enough time in the day? You've
just realized it's time for bed, and you still haven't accomplished
all you set out to do today?
Put yourself in your kids' shoes. If you can't prioritize and
accomplish your own daily tasks, how can you expect your children
to do the same? Time management is an acquired skill. Help your
kids learn to be better managers of their time. I have devised
a way to help our 12-yr-old daughter with time management by dividing
her main activities into five basic categories: homework, chores,
bed time, social activities, and telephone.
Homework and chores kind of go hand in hand. They have to be
accomplished every day. Our daughter started middle school this
year, and she is exhausted when she gets home every day. I have
a hard time putting her to work right when she gets home. Our
initial rule was that her chores and homework had to be done before
bedtime. That worked to a point, except that she was always underestimating
how long it would take to get everything done and she'd save it
all until the last minute. We then tried a different approach.
Our daughter gets home at 3:00 every day. Dinner's at about 6:00,
and bed time is 9:30. That gives her approximately the same amount
of free time before and after dinner. The new rule is that one
thing (chores or homework) has to be done before dinner, and the
other one after dinner. So far this has worked very well for us.
She has a little time to relax after school and feels she has
a little control over her own time.
Bed time has always been a problem at our house. We initially
told our daughter she had to go to her bedroom at 9:30 but she
could stay awake as long as she likes (reading, listening to music)
as long as she got herself up when the alarm went off.
This worked for a couple of weeks and then she started sleeping
through her alarm. So now the lights go off by 10:00. As soon
as she proves she can get up on her own again, she will earn this
Social activities are great, as long as they're supervised by
adults and also granted in moderation. Don't spoil your kids by
letting them go wherever they want whenever they want, even if
they have all their chores and homework done. The more time they
spend with their friends, the more time they have to be influenced
by who knows what kind of peer pressure. The more time kids spend
at home with their families the better. Make social activities
a privilege your children have to earn so they will see them as
a privilege and not something you owe them. Teach them to spend
their time in more constructive ways like reading, writing, or
playing games with the family.
And along with the social activities comes phone privileges.
Telephone conversations at our house are limited to 15 minutes
each, 2 to 3 maximum per day, and not after 9:00 p.m. Even this
is lenient, but it gives our daughter ample opportunity to talk
to her friends about homework, etc. Limiting phone time also encourages
kids to spend their time in more constructive ways and teaches
them to think about what they want to say before they get on the
Kids have a lot on their plates these days, and they aren't born
knowing how to manage their time. This is where you come in. Kids
neat to be taught these skills, and not just by word, but by example.
Don't forget to practice what you preach.
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and
mom who publishes the Creative Homemaking Recipe of the Week Club,
a weekly newsletter that contains quick, easy dinner ideas and
money-saving household hints. To subscribe send a blank e-mail
message to mailto:FreeRecipesfirstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Creative
Homemaking at http://www.creativehomemaking.com
and in the Home and Garden section of Suite 101 - http://www.suite101.com/welcome.cfm/creative_homemaking