For many people, time management does not come naturally. My husband is a prime example. He is regularly under estimating how much time it takes to do something and over estimating how much time there is in a day. Therefore, many things are done last minute and many other things are just pushed off indefinitely.
Young kids are especially prone to time management issues since it's really hard to manage something when you don't fully grasp what it is. I know my five year old really doesn't have any idea how time works. I'm pretty confident he thinks that I declare bedtime whenever I magically feel like it and not that it is an actual time of day.
With the school year coming, our kids are going to have to start managing their time. They need play time and homework time and then time for whatever activities they are in. Even young kids have to understand that there is only so many hours after school, so homework cannot be put off indefinitely.
You can use the following steps to help your kids plan out their afternoons so that all the essential things get done. When they make the choices and create the schedule they are more likely to actually carry it out. I can't promise zero complaints about homework time, but it will definitely help!
Make A List
The first step in making any schedule is to list out all the things that need to get done. Depending on how good of a writer your kids are, you can help with this list.
Some things to include on your list are homework time, dinner, chores, playtime, TV time, etc.. Also include any activities your kids might have like soccer or dance class or tumbling or whatever else they do.
Don't make it too specific so it's easier to organize later. So for example don't specify coloring versus Legos versus dolls, just list it as playtime. Same thing for activities. You don't have to specify tap class versus ballet class. For these purposes, writing dance class is sufficient.
Turn It Into Pictures
Next find some images, clipart, pictures to represent your kids activities. This is important especially if your kids is not yet a confident reader. You want them to easily be able to tell what their different activities are through the pictures.
I put together a printable sheet with a variety of images to represent some common after school activities for young kids. Below is a form to fill out so I can email the sheet to you.
If your child participates in a different activity that I didn't include, you can google an image to represent that activity and print that out.
Make a Chart
Along with the sheet of images, I put together a grid for your kids to create their schedule. It is 5 boxes across to represent the days of the week. There are 6 rows of boxes to represent the after school hours.
On the left side you can label the hours of the day after school depending on what time your chid gets out of school. You can then help your child place the things that have a set time like after school activities and dinner. Then allow them to fill in the rest of the afternoon making sure they include homework time.
For example, if they get out at 3pm, that first hour can be coming home and playtime. The 4 o'clock hour can be dance class. The 5pm hour might be homework, dinner at 6, reading at 7 and bedtime at 8.
Try their schedule out the first week and see how it goes. Over the weekend talk to them about what they liked or didn't like. Were they too tired by the end of the evening to concentrate on their homework? Did they do homework too early and need a longer break between school and homework time?
Help them understand that this is a frame work and things can be changed. next week if it didn't work this week. Also, if a task takes less time than expected, they can always finish out the hour with a different activity.
By creating a visual schedule with your kids, you can help them understand that there are a set number of hours to fit in everything they want and have to do. The things they want to put off still have to get done and certain things have to be done at certain times because they affect other people.
I know that last part is something I had to get my son to understand. He wanted to go to dance class when he felt like it, as in after he was done playing. I had to show him that there is a certain time when everyone is at dance class, they don't just wait there until he feels like showing up, lol.
This chart helps him understand how to manage his day. He also know which things he can change and which things he can't so that he can make the most of his day.
If you want to get the printables to make a visual schedule for your kids, just fill out the form below to join my newsletter list and gain access to my resource library. The kids time management printable is the 3rd item in the library so you definitely won't miss it. .