Teaching Time Management to Teens

Our culture is a fast-paced, multi-tasking society. It’s demanding and exhausting, and our young generation has been sucked into it as well. Learning time management skills now will serve our youth well throughout their lives. Studies show that the most successful students are effective time managers. Additionally, proper management of time reduces stress and allows you to accomplish more. So, take the time to teach your teen some of these tips (you also might learn a thing or two):

Pick a Time and Stick To It

Routines are a key factor in academic success. Encourage your teen to choose a standard homework time that works for them. This will improve the chances of them sticking with it and eliminate the need for you to keep nagging, ‘Did you do your homework yet?’ Parents often insist their children complete their homework right after school, but some kids are burned out at that time. Letting your teen determine their best time and then stick to that routine is the best route to a successful student.

Fight the Urge to Procrastinate

Most of us put things off from time to time, like studying for a test or starting on lengthy research papers, but giving in to diversions can really hurt us in the long run.

Teach teens to start with small goals if they’re facing a big assignment, rather than getting overwhelmed by the big picture. Encourage teens to set priorities, and then remind them to work on the important things first, even if they’re hard. So many times, we want to put off the hard work, but it’s better to do that first and get it out of the way. Accomplishment feels great, so set small goals first, and suggest the teen establish a reward if they finish their goals.

Help your teen recognize their time robbers. Sometimes we get easily distracted. They might sit down to research a topic on the computer only to end up surfing the web. If they can identify the things that burn up their valuable time, they could finish their homework quicker and have more time to do other things.

Teens who procrastinate are generally more stressed and perform more poorly on their assignments than those that set goals and work in a more timely manner.

Get Organized

Mount a bulletin board or a calendar on the wall. Teach them to break down projects into small goals (see how to avoid procrastination above) and mark them on the calendar to plan out a project’s completion. Have them mark exam dates, project deadlines, reports, their own goals, etc. You can even suggest your teen devise a color-coding system to keep assignments organized by selecting a single color for each class (like science or history). Use that color for that subject’s folder, highlighters, sticky notes, etc. The colors will not only keep your teen organized but will also enhance his or her recall of the subject. (The calendar will also allow you, as the parent, to periodically review your teen’s assignments. Ask him to describe what each assignment requires, its current status and what’s needed for completion.)

Establish Good Note Taking Skills

Explain to your teen that note taking is one of the best ways to keep their mind focused on what the teacher is saying and/or what they are reading in the textbook. Emphasize that they do not have to write down every word the teacher or book says, but rather develop some sort of outline that highlights key points or important facts.

Study Already!

Teach your teen to build regular study time into his or her schedule. Most tests are scheduled well in advance, and 20 minutes of review each night will produce much better results on Thursday’s exam than pulling an all-nighter on Wednesday.

Teens may also need help in identifying what study methods work best for them. Do they comprehend better when they can see it visually or when they hear it? Inform teens of proper studying basics, such as: taking notes as he’s reading a chapter; summarizing what he has read in his own words; making his own flashcards for quick review of dates, formulas, etc.; and reviewing for a test the week prior (cramming the night before is ineffective). Offer suggestions such as the use of flash cards for key terms and facts, highlighting their notes (use different colors to organize the information), developing acronyms to help them remembers things, etc. Studying is not an intuitive skill that students just know.

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