Time Management Is Critical
With today’s busy lifestyles, time management is more important than ever. It seems as though parents and children have never been busier. It is vital for youth to learn time management as early as possible. As parents, we usually make appointments and schedule activities for our children, but as they get older, youth should be involved in managing their time and being held accountable. When children graduate and go off to college, parents are not there to help them manage their schedules. As a result, youth may have a difficult time transitioning, because they have never had the responsibility of managing their own time.
There are several ways we can help our children learn the importance of time management at an early age. When my children were younger, and in school, I put alarm clocks in their bedrooms. Of course, I would get up much earlier, but they woke up to the sound of an alarm on school days. It was their responsibility to get out of bed, turn off their alarm, and start their day. They had the option to wake up a little earlier, relax, drink their milk, and watch cartoons before breakfast, or they could sleep for a few extra minutes. We had a daily schedule, and they knew what time we had to leave the house in order to get to school on time, so they began to manage their time at an early age. Rushing around in the morning was never an option due to the negative affects it has on both children and parents. The earlier children learn how to prioritize and manage time, the easier it is for them when they get older. Time management becomes second nature and not a stressor.
Of course, children won’t manage time on their own, particularly when they’re young, unless they are taught. If we teach and coach children by giving them consistent opportunities to manage their own time, they will become responsible and more aware of the importance of time management. We all have to make choices, and all choices have consequences. You are responsible for the choices you make, so teaching accountability is also an important factor.
I know homework is the last thing children want to deal with after school, but it is beneficial to do homework as soon as they get home. Maybe have a healthy snack and something to drink before starting homework. By doing this we are teaching youth the importance of priority and time management. Once the work is done, there is plenty of time for play and family time, which is equally important. This also helps to develop effective study skills by studying a little bit every day. It actually helps with learning and retaining the information opposed to cramming. Learning to manage your time is critical to success in school and in business.
Avoid procrastination at all cost. Sometimes when we procrastinate, it causes stress, anxiety, and confusion, because we are trying to cram a lot into a small amount of time. Being proactive, not procrastinating, and planning your schedule according to priority helps you to manage your time. Time is something you can’t buy, save, or stop, so we need to learn how to manage it.
Another effective way for children to learn essential life skills is by joining the Robeson County 4-H Program. Youth have the opportunity to learn leadership skills, decision making, communication, public speaking, presentations, goal setting, planning, time management, teamwork, and other skill sets while having fun.
For more information, please contact Wendy Maynor, Extension 4-H Youth Development Program Associate with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, at 671-3276, by E-mail at Wendy_Maynor@ncsu.edu, or visit our website at http://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/.
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