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Some tips on teaching time management to your kids

September 28, 2000

Some tips on teaching time management to your kids

Teaching your Child | By Lisa Tedrick Prejean


Lynn Smith of Hagerstown called recently, requesting tips on teaching time management to her sons, Clayton, 9, and Keifer, 5.

Specifically, it's a problem in the morning when they're rushing to catch the bus to Paramount Elementary School.

Smith seems organized. She helps her boys pick out clothes at night, and has a weekly chart of responsibilities where they check off completed items such as chores, personal care and manners.

Still, she'd like some guidance in helping her kids become more independent and cooperative.

Smith's idea of having a responsibility chart is a good one, says Kristin Farmer, a Paramount Elementary School counselor. Parents often overtalk things with their children, she says. The chart allows a child to take responsibility for what is expected of him.

Parents can set the tone by making sure there is enough time in the morning for all that needs to be done, says Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, author of "Kids, Parents and Power Struggles - Winning for a Lifetime."

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Because we try to do so much, everyone's tired. As a result, families try to sleep to the last minute.

"If you're rushed, you can't listen," Kurcinka says.

And kids often slow down if they feel their needs are not being met, Kurcinka says. It's as if they're saying, "I'm here. Focus on me. Give me some attention."

Here are some suggestions from Farmer and Kurcinka:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Make a chart of your child's responsibilities. If he knows what is expected of him, he may be more willing to listen and cooperate.

For young children who can't read yet, use pictures instead of words. The child may want to create these by drawing a picture of him brushing his teeth, making his bed, etc.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Be specific about what is expected and the consequences if expectations aren't met.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Give your child choices. This teaches him that you respect his opinions and shows him how to be a problem-solver.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Set a musical alarm 15 minutes before he has to get out of bed. This allows him to wake up slowly before he has to function.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Wake your child by rubbing his shoulders or back. A calm voice and gentle touch will cause his body to release seratonins, what Kurcinka refers to as "natural Prozac." He will be more relaxed and cooperative.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Make breakfast. Sit down and eat it together.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Do not allow TV in the morning. It can be distracting. You often have to leave before the program ends, which can be a difficult transition for a child to make.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Avoid power struggles. Don't nag your children with statements such as, "How many times have I told you ...." Instead, say, "I'm going to check the chart to see how many items you have checked off."

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Remember, independence comes from a sense of connection. When your child knows there are people who will help and encourage him, he will be more willing to achieve.

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