Habits we learn when we are young often stick with us for life. There are many areas where we as parents consciously consider this when our children are young. We teach them to brush their teeth and make their beds, speak politely, help with chores, and more. But, what about scheduling? Do we ever think of scheduling as a habit to be developed?
In truth, there’s great benefit to teaching even little ones how to establish a habit of scheduling, long before we actually teach them how to actively create their own schedules or manage their time. If we do this, it will be much easier for them to live well-scheduled lives as adults, no matter what their planner personalities may be.
Tips for the Starting Out Stage
Here are some tips for developing time management skills during the Starting Out stage of learning.
Young children may not yet understand time, but they thrive on routine. As much as possible, keep a consistent daily and weekly routine.
- Help your children follow the routine by posting a schedule on the wall or door of the fridge. For non-readers, use pictures or drawings of daily activities to create the schedule. Even if your children can’t tell time, they can follow the order of the day by looking at the pictures.
- Young children don’t understand the meaning of “five minutes.” Use a timer to give them a tangible representation of time.
- Purchase an inexpensive clock and use color to mark daily blocks of time, then use the color code to create a schedule of what activities happen during each color/time block.
- Create chore charts and set a time each day for all chores to be completed.
- Train children to lay out clothing and any necessary items for the next day before they go to bed.
- Keep a consistent bedtime and wake time as much as possible.