Parents Want Help Helping Kids Learn Time Management

The back-to-school season is a time of change in a kid’s life. New schedules, new activities, new friends–both parents and children need to learn how to adjust to all the change. From the first day of elementary school throughout high school, kids have school assignments, sports, music and theater practices, social activities and home obligations thrust upon them with the expectation that they will magically know how to do it all.

However, without the proper guidance and an easy-to-use system, it is easy for children and parents to get overwhelmed. In fact, in a recent DayTimers® survey on back-to-school resolutions, 72% of parent respondents said they wanted to improve their time management skills.  And the best way to learn is to teach it.  Teaching children time management at a young age is a life lesson that will bring them through childhood and eventually into adulthood. Here are some tips from DayTimer expert, Laura Stack (, to help parents help their children.

Write It Down. Homework, soccer practice, band rehearsal, tutoring classes, religious education, and football games–the list of kid’s activities can grow out of control before you know it. In order for the whole family to stay on top of what is going on, it is a good idea to have a “family calendar” that holds the schedules for each person. The DayTimer Tri-Fold Organization Center with Calendar has a tabbed 12-month calendar with three file pockets and four multi-colored vinyl protectors that keep game schedules, school play rehearsals, and soccer practice all in one place. The pencil, self-stick notes, and strong magnet backing keep the family calendar center-stage on the refrigerator where everyone will see it.  Have children write down their own activities on the calendar to help them see what is happening on what days.

Plan It. Planning ahead may be one of the best things to help your child learn time management. Buying them a student planner is the first step. DayTimer has a denim zippered student planner, which will help them keep track of football games, dances and club activities, as well as homework assignments. Planning, however, is a skill that needs to be learned. It’s important that parents sit down and teach them how to use it. By writing down assignment and project due dates, as well as keeping track of every practice for the month, children will begin to see the important demands on their time well in advance.

Prioritize. Once you’ve worked out a system for recording all activities in a student planner, then it is time to have a discussion about priorities. Your child’s priorities may be completely different from yours. Children might think emailing friends takes precedence over finishing homework. This is a time to start listening to one another so that homework vs. soccer practice doesn’t become a family battleground. Work together on a list that ranks the relative priority of all activities.  Once you agree on the priority of things, you can continue to encourage your child to get in the habit of doing this daily. In fact, it can be a very nice time to take 10 minutes to catch up and to reinforce priorities. Remember: fun is a priority that belongs on the list as well.

Just Say No. Signing up to be a cheerleader, playing volleyball and starring in the school musical sounds exciting–but too many activities are sure to lead to a frenetic schedule for both children and parents. Parents and children alike need to be willing to say “no” to certain activities, so they can preserve precious time to be together. It may be wise to make a rule to be involved with only one or two after school activities per season.  Then sit back and enjoy your time together with activities you both enjoy.

Have Fun. Being a kid means having fun and enjoying life–plus learning to be organized and manage time. If your child gets overwhelmed or worked up over all of the activities they have going on, the activities can stop being fun. In a recent survey conducted by the Associated Press and MTV, nearly 75 percent of young people say their relationship with their parents makes them happy. After that, their relationship with friends was mentioned most. When you model a sane, organized schedule and match your time to your priorities, you teach them how much fun time management can be and how happy you can be as a result.



  1. Nothing beats writing it down. I’m glad to see that first on your list. You have to ink it if you are going to remember to do it.

  2. It’s always a good idea to develop skills at a young age. Kids may not appreciate the importance of time management, but an early practice will surely help them prepare for their busy lives in the future.

  3. Great tips. Saying no may sound harsh, but it’s a strategy that we have to learn to make our lives simple and manageable.