Family life

How to teach your child time management

Here are eight essential time-management tips kids can use to better their chances of success in school and later on in life.

By Clare Kumar

How to teach your child time management

Photo: Streamlife

Teaching kids time management

It's never too late to teach time management

Success in school is defined by more than just how much one studies. Just as important is how kids go about getting their work done and completed on time. A recent study by Intel Canada highlights that, if given the chance, the top two pieces of advice post-secondary students would give their younger selves are to learn how to better manage their time and improve self-discipline.  

As students grow, they become more independent managers of their possessions and their time; yet time management and organizing skills are only lightly touched upon rather than a core part of the curriculum. Here are eight tips kids can use to better their chances of success in school, and later on in life.

How to teach your child time managementPhoto: Intel Canada


Provide tools that suit your child's learning style

Learning can take place more quickly if the teaching methods and tools suit how your child likes to learn. We use a mixture of visual, auditory and kinaesthetic approaches to learn, and likely have a preference for one over the others. Intuitive-to-use touch screens are appealing to young users, especially those with a preference for kinaesthetic learning.

Read more: Self-regulation techniques for children>

How to teach your child time managementPhoto: Intel Canada


Create a study zone that promotes focus

Multi-tasking is a myth: You get more done by focusing on one task at a time.

Create a study environment that promotes focus for your child. Some prefer silence, whereas others focus better with music in the background.  Some kids will be able to sit and work independently whereas others will need gentle reminders to go back to their work.

If your child isn’t completing homework in an appropriate amount of time, re-examine and adjust his working environment.

Read more: Multi-tasking: Does it do more harm than good?>

How to teach your child time managementPhoto: Intel Canada


Use the right time-management tools

According to Intel Canada’s recent study, 87% of students polled recognize that time-management skills are critical, yet 43% of students polled report a significant lack of confidence in them. To effectively manage time, it’s important to have the right tools at hand.  These include clocks, watches, timers and of course, calendars

For younger kids, planners or school-issued agendas can be effective. Encourage them to look at the month view which helps make time less abstract.  For older kids, a calendar application on their computer (with the necessary view-by-week and by-month), which syncs with their smartphone, is a convenient choice.

Read more: 5 apps every mom needs>

How to teach your child time managementPhoto: Brand X Pictures


Schedule time for homework in the calendar

Often calendars are used to record due dates or appointments, leaving large swaths of time unallocated. This gives a misleading sense of how much time is available to use for schoolwork, play and other responsibilities. Help your child break down projects into pieces of work that can fit into 30- to 90-minute blocks of time, and schedule these in the calendar.  

Read more: The do's and don'ts of homework time>

How to teach your child time managementPhoto: Intel Canada


Coach self-discipline

Self-discipline is identified as a crucial skill by almost all students in the recent study by Intel Canada. 

Help kids improve self-discipline by giving them the responsibility of managing assignments or parts of a project on their own. Discuss the benefits of focusing on their work rather than following distractions.  Let kids experience the consequences of mismanaging their time, and use it as a learning tool.  Role-modelling self-discipline also helps. 

Read more: How to raise a great kid>

How to teach your child time managementPhoto: Creatas


Manage sleep and energy for top performance

If you’re tired, cold or hungry, isn’t it much harder to think clearly? The same applies to kids. Providing nutritious food and enforcing appropriate bedtimes will help avoid lack of sleep, which may sabotage the next school day and create a vicious cycle of poor attention and chronic lack of energy to complete school work. Getting fresh air and adequate exercise also helps boost energy and focus. Taking physical breaks every 60 to 90 minutes can also help keep your child refreshed.

Read more: Exercise: The secret to success at school>

How to teach your child time managementPhoto: Intel Canada


Keep technology up to date

If your child is working on an older, slower, possibly unreliable computer, it could be sabotaging her productivity.  If it’s time for a new PC, consider what you want to do on it, how portable it needs to be and your budget. 
To find options that suit your needs, check out You'll be asked a series of questions and given suggestions as to which models are perfect for you and currently available at retail.   

How to teach your child time managementPhoto: Intel Canada


Lighten the load

Kids have to cart a lot around. Lunches, water bottles, gym clothes, and of course books, tablets and computers for school work.  Help manage the load by providing a sturdy, light weight and durable backpack and encourage eliminating weight when possible by accessing information digitally, consolidating devices and archiving older papers.  

Read more: School lunches: Fun printable meal planner>

How to teach your child time managementPhoto: Intel Canada

More school tips!

10 peanut-free lunch ideas>
Looking for some new, school-friendly lunch recipes? Try one of these tasty choices.

How to teach your child time managementPhoto: iStockphoto
This article was originally published on Aug 27, 2016