Practical Dad

Teaching Time Management

A large part of a father's job is teaching, but much of what has to be taught can't be done in a sit-down, teaching style.  And much of this teaching will happen over a lengthy span, by example, correction and a lot of conversation.

A case in point is teaching your kids about basic time management skills.  Time management is, to an extent, a skill set that you either have or you don't and I know plenty of adults who are terrible at managing time and commitments.  But because it's something that I had to struggle with while some younger peers handled it easily, I concluded that it's something that I have to explain and model for the kids.

So how do I approach it?

  • Keep a large family calendar clearly displayed and make it a habit of referring back to it when a child wants to know if Philo can come play.
  • Talk with the kids early in the day about what has to happen and when it has to happen.
  • Keep an openly accessible to-do list and update it in front of the kids.  Let them see you doing it so that they learn by osmosis and example.
  • When the kids are old enough, make sure that they have timepieces so they aren't depending on others to know the time.  When Middle went to scout camp last month, I made certain that he had a decent - not expensive, just decent - watch in order to keep track of time.
  • When I goof, I openly talk about what went wrong and what I could have done differently.
  • When the kids bring home a planner issued by the school, make sure that I sit with them after school to go through it and see what's on the horizon.

Some things will come quickly, like how to use a screwdriver.  But others will take a long time, so be patient and prepare yourself for the long haul.  This is one of those things.

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