Please welcome Melissa from Cloud Mom. She is here to share some ideas on how to make time management for kids a part of your everyday. This topic could not have come at a better time for us. I’ve been working a lot on time management for me and have become very aware that Big M could use a little work on the same area. Isn’t it funny how we can see ourselves so clearly in our kids sometimes? Enjoy the post and please join in the conversation in the comment section!
Hello, moms and dads!
I’m Melissa from CloudMom.com and am thrilled to be guest posting today! With a new year upon us, many of us are making resolutions. Perhaps we are striving to be healthier in the coming months, or to balance the family budget. Are any of you making resolutions to become more efficient with your time and to teach your kids the same? Here are 5 ways to start working on time management for kids.
Time Management for Kids
- One thing at a time. On any given day, I come up with a million and one things to do, make a written or mental to-do list, and start work on the first or most pressing task at hand. Not too much time passes before my mind is racing, thinking about the other things I have to do! Eventually, I get so sidetracked that nothing gets accomplished! In a recent video, Why Women Need to By More Like Men, I comment on my husband’s uncanny ability to focus and complete one task at a time. This is truly a skill and one that I’m encouraging my kids to master. When they sit down to do homework and start in on their math, I press them to stick with that subject until it’s fully done. Ditto with piano practice. Tell your kids to take the time, do it well, and then move on…
- Prioritize. We all have too much to do, even our kids. To me, the key to being productive is to figure out what is most important and to do that first, leaving the other priorities further down the list to get addressed later. Easier said than done to us FB addicts who spend 15 minutes getting up to date on our news feed before we plunge into work! With my oldest, who just started middle school, we are currently spending a lot of time talking about priorities. We discuss what HAS to be done for tomorrow versus what can be STARTED (but doesn’t need to be finished). I also try to talk to my kids about time and what needs to happen during short periods of time. If we’re running out the door to soccer but haven’t checked our backpack to make sure all our stuff is there, it’s not the time to try to finagle your Mom into letting you use the IPAD. Do what needs to be done first, and then you can take a break, I say.
- Create a neat system. In my house we’re constantly fighting the threat of complete chaos and disorder, which drives me crazy since I find comfort in neatness and organization! I have little systems, which I try to get the kids to stick to so that they are pitching in with basic housework. My kids have to clean and put their dishes in the dishwasher, put their clothes in the laundry room, put away their own backpacks and coats, and put away their clean clothes. Small potatoes, I know, but neatness like this for us is a huge time saver. Whenever we can’t find someone’s soccer jersey, cleats or school notebook, we’re held up and late plus losing tons of time. Neatness is a time-saver because looking for stuff makes you late and takes up a lot of time. It’s that simple.
- Discuss Efficiency and Organization. This might not win you bonus points in the entertainers’ hall of fame, but one good way to get your kids thinking about organization and time management is to talk to them it. Talk to them about how we all make choices about how to spend our time, about keeping their stuff neat because that way we’ll be out of the house in a jiffy the next day. Talk about how to organize school papers and sports uniforms. Make whatever you do to get organized a topic of conversation so that they too are thinking about how to make it all work. This gives kids ownership over the cause and increases the likelihood that they’ll buy into your scheme!
- Take the time to get organized. Getting organized and saving time takes time. I sometimes marvel at how long it takes me to keep my own stuff in order, or at how long I take to plan out my logistics for my kids. If we adults are getting ready for a big trip, we take the time to pack and plan. Same thing for kids. Give them enough down time to plan out what they need for their activities, sports or schools – and have them do it themselves to the greatest extent possible. This likely means that they need their own spaces for the stuff as well (something I’m working on) so that they can dip in and take out whatever they need. The silver lining there is that once your kids are getting themselves organized, you are NOT and that means more time for mom. Love that.
Hope these tips help! Good luck with time management in the New Year!
Do you struggle with time management for kids? Leave your questions or tips in the comment section.
Melissa Lawrence, co-founder of CloudMom, lives in New York with her husband and 5 young children. With more than a few parenting tricks up her sleeve, Melissa posts how-to videos and blogs for moms just like you!