Every client, and I mean EVERY CLIENT who works with us, has some sort of issue with time management. Parents will often report that their child procrastinates, will wait until the last minute to start or complete an assignment, or will often run late for school. Some parents note that the mornings are challenging because their child can take a very long time getting ready for school, usually resulting in the entire family running behind in the morning. All too often, parents will complain that even though they have attempted to implement multiple time management plans none of them were successful!! Why is that?
As parents, we teach our children how to tell time. In the age of the endless “apps”, there are a variety of methods to learn how to read a clock. So, when we tell our kids to be ready in 10 minutes, we take for granted that our child knows what 10 minutes is. Sure, they can read the clock and tell you that 12:10 means 10 minutes after 12:00 but can they tell you what 10 minutes FEELS LIKE? Interesting, right! Before we expect our time challenged child to follow any time management plan, he/she needs to understand what time is and what it feels like.
For those Comfy/Cozy Organizers, feeling time is essential. For the Visual Organizer, seeing time is just as important. The Sequential Organizer needs to see the numbers on the clock to understand the order of the minutes. A bit confusing? Let me give you an example of how we help our clients through this process of understanding time.
A Time Timer is an excellent tool for teaching time since this tool can service all three organizing styles. (If you have a Sequential Organizer, I would recommend writing all the numbers on the minute lines for your child to better understand the order of time.) For many families, the mornings can be challenging so we’ll use this scenario for our example.
- Explain to your child how the time timer works and how you will use it to help him/her work more efficiently in the morning.
- If you want your child to be dressed and at the breakfast table in 20 minutes, set the time timer for 20 minutes.
- Place the time timer in a very visible spot that your child has picked out in his or her bedroom.
- If possible, remind your child to look at the time timer so he/she can manage the time. Be mindful to not give many reminders, otherwise your kids will say you’re nagging.
- When the 20 minutes has expired, the timer’s bell will ring.
- The goal is for your child to be fully dressed and prepared to for the next phase of the morning routine.
I know some of you may be thinking, “Yeah, right!! If it was only that easy!” There is not a one size fits all when organizing. Strategies presented here are guidelines that may need to be tweaked to fit your child’s needs. That’s fine. Some parents may need to start with smaller chunks of time and in some practice scenarios that are not stressful. Other parents may need to initially monitor how the child navigates through the given time to ensure that the goals are met.
Once your child has a better understanding of time, he /she will be better equipped to handle a time management plan.