What Is Time Management?

Do you find that your children lack the all-important skill called time management? If you’re nodding in agreement, don’t worry–even adults have difficulties managing time!

So then, what is time management, exactly? Time management is a skill or a method that helps a person keep track of and organize their time in order to accomplish all of their duties and tasks in a timely fashion.

Why Would Kids Need Time-Management Skills?

After all, they’re just kids, right? Well, yes. But just like adults, children have their own things going on. School, sports, after-school clubs and activities, chores, and even jobs for older kids. That doesn’t even include time to relax and socialize with friends, which is important to work into each day. So, how do busy kids fit in a day of school, softball practice, the school environmental club, homework and studying, after-dinner dish duties, and maybe an hour of Netflix or gaming with friends online? Time management.

Now, you might be wondering: “How can I teach my school-aged child this type of skill that many adults haven’t even mastered yet?” Well, it may be a lot easier than you think.

Start with a Schedule

Just like working adults, school-aged children need a schedule not only for accountability, but also for stability.

· Start small and make it fun: print out a monthly calendar, then have your child color the calendar so they feel a sense of ownership over it; they will feel more invested. Pinterest has plenty of interesting printable calendars.

· Second, input all specific due dates for projects and activities.

· Lastly, keep your child’s calendar visible. Ask yourself: “Can my child see this on a daily basis without having to try hard to find it?”

· For older kids or those who are more technologically inclined, there are plenty of calendar and scheduling apps they can download on their phones or tablets. This can be especially helpful since most of the apps provide reminders and notifications that let you know when it’s time to move onto the next task or activity.


What is important right now, and what can be worked on later? Bucket your kids’ activities, projects, and homework assignments. You can use this guide below for reference:

  • High priority: an assignment due this week
  • Medium priority: an assignment due within the next week or two
  • Low priority: a project due three weeks or beyond

Bucketing priorities is a skill that can be used in many areas of life, not just for school. Think: friendship, sports, work, and any of the other activities mentioned earlier.

Utilize Timers

Just like adults, children need structure. Timers help ensure dedicated blocks of time for daily tasks. You can access free timers and stopwatches online; if you have an old-school kitchen timer ,that works too! It might take some trial and error to find just the right amount of time to allot to certain tasks. But keep at it…you’ll get there!

It’s important to remember that childrens’ attention spans differ by age group. What works for a high school-aged student likely will not work for an elementary school student. A simple guide that can be used to calculate timing for children is to multiply their age by two (minutes). For example, if your child is 8 years old, you would multiply that by two for a reasonable timing of 16 minutes.

Brain Breaks!

It’s important for both the mind and body to take a break from time to time. And during those breaks, it’s a good idea to incorporate a little movement into your day—this is especially important for kids. Fortunately, there are plenty of free websites that you can use to work some movement into your child’s day. GoNoodle, a website that engages and inspires millions of kids every month to channel their boundless energy–getting them up, moving, and becoming more mindful–has plenty of short videos that are fun, silly, interactive, and free! It’s the perfect formula for a brain break.

Be Persistent and Consistent

Keep up with your child’s time management skills, no matter his or her age. It requires some patience, practice, and frequent check-ins, especially if (s)he isn’t accustomed to managing time in an efficient manner. Maintaining consistency throughout each week will help create a routine which, in time, will become second nature. And once it does, those kids will be managing their time like pros!

About the Author:

Stephanie Siciliano, M.Ed.

“There is always light, if only we are brave enough to see it.

If only we are brave enough to BE it.”- Amanda Gorman