Yesterday’s lesson focused on letting your children fail in order to build them back up and to learn how to be better students. Today, we will focus on a facet of their school life that will serve them very well into adulthood: time management.
The delicate balance. There is most certainly a delicate balance between overscheduling your children and not scheduling anything for them at all. However, teaching them that you have obligations to put ahead of free time is an idea that is invaluable. If this starts at a young age, then the transition to homework assignments will not be so terrible. They will understand that you have things to do or places to be that supersede your free time, and the reality of school will not result in such a culture shock. You should also avoid scheduling so much that your children have no free time at all—they are kids, after all! Giving them something to look forward to is the carrot they need to get the job done at times.
Eat that frog! In a book by Brian Tracy, Eat That Frog, he outlines several strategies to increase productivity in business. However, as an elementary educator, I feel as though this thought process can be applied to anything that needs to be prioritized. “Eating the frog” simply means doing the least appealing task first—cue eating your broccoli before the macaroni and cheese, or just “getting it over with.” Teaching your child how to craft a “to-do” list early on is essential. As your child’s life in school becomes more difficult and complex, so will their different assignments, not to mention the fact that they will all be coming from different teachers, making it difficult for you to keep a handle on things outside of school. If a child can prioritize tasks that they have to get done, then they will avoid feeling overwhelmed by everything there is to do on a given day. You are not only setting them up for success in school, but you are teaching them how to cope with stress. For some people, organization is just an innate skill, but for others, it is something that has to be worked at every day. Therefore, if organization is something you struggle with, it is important to “fake it till you make it” (as previously mentioned in the math portion of this course) and model this practice for your children.
Teach them how to keep a calendar. With the pace of our society the way it is, everyone has a way of keeping up with their obligations, be it by an app on their phone, a planner, a desk calendar, etc. There has to be some type of visual representation of a schedule in our lives. Therefore, teaching them how to use an agenda book (typically given to them when they reach elementary school) is a skill that will benefit them well into adulthood. However, it is not common sense! Sit down with them, and show them how to fill in the calendar dates based on assignments, upcoming quizzes, tests, projects, and more. Be sure to put in fun things like birthdays, holidays, trips, and more, so they don’t view a calendar or agenda as only a source of work!
With these foundational time management skills, your child will have the tools they need to keep track of their own schedules, letting you off the hook in the near or immediate future! In tomorrow’s lesson, you will read about the types of study skills that will help your child become a better student—now and in the future.
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