Some basic pointers in teaching children to be on time

July 20, 2000

Some basic pointers in teaching children to be on time

Teaching your child | by Lisa Tedrick Prejean

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

Football practiceWhen Gary Scott has football practice, his goal is to show up 30 minutes early.

"I go to practice early so I can warm up, throw the ball around and get focused," says Gary, 14, a member of South Hagerstown High School's freshman team.

He also likes to be early so he can get instructions about practice and pointers from Coach Greg Kellick.

Gary's mom, Stephanie Smith, says he often tells her practice is at 6 when it is actually 6:30.

Kellick says he's encouraged by the number of team members who show up early. He doesn't wait for latecomers. He wants them to learn that they affect the entire team when they're not on time.

"Don't have somebody waiting on you. Always be ready to go," Kellick says.


Smith, who is expecting her fourth child in September, knows the importance of teaching children to be on time.

As part of the Christian Charm youth program at Zion Baptist Church in Hagerstown, she taught a segment on punctuality this spring.

"This course was to prepare them for life after high school," Smith says.

Many teens in the course have summer jobs and needed to learn how to be on time.

Smith says parents should teach their teens:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Go to bed early. It's easier to wake up and be on time if you've had enough sleep.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Don't depend on your parents to wake you up. Take responsibility to set an alarm clock.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Set your clock a little earlier than you have to. Give yourself a reasonable amount of time to get going, especially if you're not a morning person.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Get your clothes out the night before.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Have an idea in the evening of what you want to pack in your lunch the next day.

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A few weeks ago, I wrote a column on teaching children about people with disabilities.

Brigie Greenwald of Hagerstown sent an e-mail mentioning that her grandson, Joshua, is featured in the book, "Let's Talk About It: Extraordinary Friends," by Fred Rogers of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."

The book introduces young children to Joshua, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, and to other children with special needs.

It challenges stereotypes and can be a useful teaching tool for parents, Greenwald says.

It is available at some local bookstores.

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Tell us what you're trying to teach your child. We'll ask an expert for advice. Call Lifestyle Editor Lisa Tedrick Prejean at 301-733-5131, ext. 2340, write to her at P.O. Box 439, Hagerstown, Md. 21741, send a fax to 301-714-0245 or e-mail her at

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