Your Ultimate Guide to Teaching Kids Time Management Skills

time management skills

The alarm rings. You press the snooze button, you doze off. The alarm rings again, you wake up and uh-oh, you’re late—again.

If this looks like your daily routine, poor time management skills may be to blame. After all, we each have the same 24 hours in a day. It’s how we manage and use them that makes the difference.

Sometimes routines and habits need to be shaken up. Ditch those which you may find aren’t good to pass along to your child, else they suffer the same trouble when they grow up.

Some people just seem naturally wired to be organized and others not. Some pay attention to details while others look more at the big picture. Unlike these traits, time management skills can be acquired. 

As with any habit or skill, teaching kids time management takes time and repetition. Routines are built on years of practice. Starting your kids early can help them get good at time estimation while they’re little.

Here we’ve prepared the ultimate guide to teaching kids time management skills to help them develop a positive attitude toward managing their own time. 

Show the value of time management through fun activities

Listing to-dos is easy and quick, but scheduling tasks may take more time and practice. It requires a different skill set: the ability to estimate how much time different tasks may take to complete.

Add some zest to boring to-do lists by using colorful cutout shapes, markers and stickers. Lots and lots of them! Make a game of who gets the most number of tasks completed within a set time period, such as a day or week. 

Use rewards for who gets the most number of tasks completed ahead of the time limit. Doing quick activities like this helps put emphasis on the value of time management by giving kids the incentive to do a number of small things in a limited amount of time.

Begin at an early age

As children grow up, their attention span increases, making them more inclined to develop their own style of doing things. They will form their own habits, which can either be good or bad.

Showing your kids the value of time management at an early age can help shape their understanding of the concept and later adopt a positive outlook with regard to keeping time and scheduling activities on their own. 

Help your child gain perspective on various time duration

Simply knowing how to tell time isn’t enough for children to understand time management.

Gaining understanding of time means knowing the difference between what 5 minutes and 30 minutes feels like, and the amount of work that can be done within that period.

Time blocking helps your child measure an activity’s duration. They’ll learn to create an estimate based on the amount of time it takes to complete a task. 

Make use of visual calendars

Calendars help give you an overview of activities and find out what’s to come in one glance.

For families, this can help you keep track of the activities and commitments other members are engaged in. A calendar may also allow you to find windows of free time when everyone can get together.

You can use color coding to easily distinguish each person’s activities. Make your calendar look as fun as possible by involving everyone in decorating it.

Individual calendars are also a fantastic idea to help your child keep track of their activities and map out the steps he or she can take when working toward a goal. 

Build routines by sticking to the schedule

One way to effectively teach time management skills is to urge your child to stay on task for the estimated duration of the activity. Then stop when time is up.

The intention is to set patterns and build routines. This requires consistency and repetitive structure.

Sticking to the schedule helps keep your child’s internal clock in check and helps them stay immersed on a task when the schedule calls for it. It also gives them the base of experience needed to make more accurate time estimates.

Teach your child the value of priorities

Tasks come in varying degrees of importance and urgency. As much as you may want to establish independence, you can’t let your child cherry pick only the tasks they like.

Daily priorities are aimed at reaching a larger end goal but children won’t understand that unless you share that perspective with them.

In setting daily priorities, let your child determine the order in which tasks are completed. Sticking to this format keeps tasks organized and reduces the sense of overwhelm for kids because of too much work piled up on their schedule.

Attending tasks can get overwhelming when there are too many things on your plate at a given time.

Building time management skills can help give children a framework for scheduling and organizing their activities. This helps maintain your child’s productivity. 

Need a hand in teaching your child effective time management skills? At Imagine Nation Learning Center, we’re just as devoted to connecting with families as we are to your child’s early education. For more information or to schedule a tour at any one of over seven different locations throughout Texas, visit us at


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