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Instilling Time Management Skills in Middle Schoolers

time management skills

Have you ever stopped to think about all the skills that are easy for you as an adult because you learned them as a child? What about those that are hard because you’re just now learning them?

Many of us struggle with scheduling and time management skills because of the simple fact that we didn’t start learning those skills until adulthood. But we can change that with our children!

There are many things we can teach our children, starting with basic habits for our young learners and continuing with practice in scheduling for our elementary students. By the time our students reach the middle school years, though, they are really ready to begin taking a more active role in managing their own time.

Time Management Skills for the Beginning to Understand Stage

5th - 8th Grade

So, what does it look like for middle schoolers to take a more active role in managing their own time? What do time management skills actually look like at this stage?

Well, this depends on what time management skills have been taught prior to this point. If you’ve been working on these skills since the early learning years, you’ll have a solid foundation that allows a lot of independence during the Beginning to Understand stage of learning.

In preschool through first grade, you probably taught your student to thrive on routine and to use images to help guide them through keeping up with the family schedule, completing chores, and learning how to handle being both in and out of routine.

By the elementary years your student may have started to work with you to build a routine and schedule. At the very least, their time management skills expanded to include a better understanding of time, an ability to read a clock, and an awareness that schedule and routine are about the whole family working together rather than just about their own routine.

If you didn’t actively work on these time management skills in the early learning and elementary years, though, don’t worry! You’re not too late! You’ll just need to make sure to spend the first year or two setting some of these foundations of routine and rhythm so your student gets a feel for them before needing to start helping create them.

Regardless of the foundation laid, though, by middle school, your student should be ready to process through each morning’s routine without prompting. Whether you need to use chore and routine charts or other forms of accountability, encourage them to take responsibility for getting breakfast, getting dressed, grooming, and tidying their room without you having to outline the needs each day.

The same will go for other routines throughout the day that build the whole family rhythm.

The ultimate goal during the middle school years is to prepare your student for creating their own schedule and routine, learning how to fit that in with the rest of the family. So, all of your time management skills training during these years will progress toward that goal.

Here are some ways to make that happen:

  • Purchase a student planners for your student and show them how to use it. (Well Planned Gal’s Student Planners include training material to help you learn how to teach time management skills to your student.) Early diligence and training can develop a habit that will continue for life and save time and problems later on.
  • Have a daily planner meeting, spending a few minutes each morning discussing what needs to be accomplished through the course of the day.
  • Have your student make a to-do list every day, then mark off each task as it is completed.
  • Teach your student to avoid procrastination. Getting the task done will make free time much more enjoyable.
  • Cooking helps your student to work on time management skills. Begin with simple recipes, working up to full meals that require careful management to be done at the same time.
  • Teach goal-setting. Show your student how to set a large goal and then divide it up into smaller goals. (The ASPIRE method and benchmark step of ACHIEVE can both help you teach your student these skills.)
  • Help your student determine when to be rigid with the schedule and when to be flexible.

Do you know how to use a planner in a way that matches with your planner personality? The more you learn yourself, the more you can pass skills on to your children. Take our Planner Personality Quiz to discover scheduling tips for your planner personality type.

With five kids in their teen and early adult years, Rebecca shares the many ups and downs of parenting, homeschooling, and keeping it all together. As the Well Planned Gal she mentors women towards the goal of discovering the uniqueness Christ has created in them and their family and how to best organize and plan for the journey they will travel.

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