Time management and organization skills are crucial components of academic success. While some children may naturally possess these traits, others may need a little help from their parents. If your child’s study habits could use improvement, don’t worry! Here, we delve into practical strategies to help your child stay organized and manage their time effectively when studying.
The Importance of Time Management and Organization
Research shows that students with effective time management and organization skills tend to perform better in their academics. These abilities allow them to approach tasks with greater focus and lower stress levels, ultimately leading to better progress, higher grades, and increased motivation. By instilling these habits in your child, you will be setting them up for success both in school and later in life.
Why Do Children Procrastinate?
Students often procrastinate, delaying essential assignments, homework, test preparation, and other responsibilities until the last minute, which can result in an inability to complete them. This prevalent issue is one that numerous parents grapple with. To comprehend why students procrastinate, it is vital to understand the reasons behind it and find ways to encourage appropriate time management for completing tasks.
One key reason behind procrastination is the perception that the task is unpleasant, leading students to avoid it. Instead, they prioritize engaging in activities they find more enjoyable or appealing. Another significant factor contributing to procrastination among students is the absence of a structured routine for completing tasks. Many students lack established strategies to organize their to-do lists and tackle their responsibilities systematically.
By understanding these reasons, parents can effectively address the issue of procrastination and establish suitable strategies for students to develop better time management skills. We’ll look at some of the strategies that I’ve found useful.
Tips For Your Child to Develop Effective Time Management Skills
1. Utilize agenda and create to-do lists.
Most schools provide their students with a free agenda, a small pocket book that students can use to write down their daily schedule, homework deadlines, and important dates. Use the agenda to:
- Organize due dates, appointments, and other essential information.
- Make checklists and to-do lists for breaking down tasks into manageable steps. Let your child write down what he or she wants to accomplish each day or each week. The key is to clearly list what has to be done and to break down big tasks into small sub-steps that look doable.
- Let your child cross out the items that he or she completed. This will help your child feel satisfied when a task is completed.
- Alternatively, ask your child to make an achievement list where your child can write down what he or she completed in a day or a week.
2. Tackle easier tasks, first.
I find that completing simpler tasks initially greatly aids in maintaining motivation. Simpler tasks are faster to accomplish and appear less intimidating than more difficult ones. As you finish simpler tasks, the to-do list shrinks, and you’ll feel more inclined to tackle the more challenging tasks. Encourage your child to:
- Identify the simplest tasks on the to-do list and complete them first.
- If a task consists of a series of homework questions, have them answer the easiest questions first and cross them off as they complete them. Save the most difficult ones for last.
- Once the simpler tasks are completed, move on to the most difficult ones.
- Compliment on the questions finished, even if they are the easier ones, rather than scolding on questions that are not finished.
3. Develop a routine
Establishing a daily routine is a great place to start when helping your child manage their time effectively. This predictable structure can provide a sense of stability, allowing your child to focus on their responsibilities while minimizing distractions.
- Set aside specific times of the day for studying, making sure to consider your child’s energy levels and other commitments.
- Encourage regular breaks to recharge and maintain focus. A break every 20 – 25 minutes may be a good idea for some children who have a hard time focusing.
- Keep bedtime and wake-up times consistent, as proper sleep is essential for productivity and learning.
- Include fun activities to relieve stress and promote a healthy work-life balance.
4. Create a homework station
In addition to a routine, creating a designated homework space can significantly enhance your child’s focus and productivity. This special area should be:
- Quiet and free from distractions.
- Furnished with all necessary study materials, such as notebooks, pencils, and textbooks.
- Well-lit and comfortable, with ergonomic seating and adequate workspace.
- Personalized to be inviting, reflecting their interests and individuality.
5. Give your child a sense of accomplishment
One of the most effective ways to help your child overcome procrastination is by instilling a sense of accomplishment as they complete tasks. This point really relates to the point 1 and 2, above. If your child feels good after completing a task, she or he will want to complete a task next time.
- Set clear, attainable goals and break down larger tasks into smaller, manageable steps.
- Let your child cross off the tasks that are completed or reward him- or herself with a star or a sticker.
- As your child finishes each step, take the time to acknowledge their progress and celebrate their achievements. This will not only boost their self-confidence, but also create a positive association with task completion
6. Lead by example and encourage communication
One of the most effective ways to teach your child time management and organization is to model these behaviors yourself. Show them the benefits of being organized by setting goals, using time wisely, and maintaining an orderly environment. Encourage open communication about their progress and be supportive during their journey to improve their study habits.
Ultimately, by utilizing these tips and maintaining a supportive and consistent environment, your child will be well on their way to becoming an effective time manager and a more organized student. Remember, mastering these skills may take time, but with dedication and patience, they will reap the rewards of improved academic performance and reduced stress.
Richard Zhang, M.Ed., is an educator and a software developer with a Masters degree in education from University of Toronto and an immense passion for education and learning. Until the pandemic, Richard owned an award-winning learning centre in Toronto. For 15 years, he has taught and mentored hundreds of elementary, middle school, and high school students succeed in academics. He is also an app developer specializing in web and mobile application in educational and business sectors.