It's never too late to teach time management to kids. School-aged kids who have no ability to follow a schedule or to be self-organized, might have rougher time as responsibilities mount with age. A study from the University of Pennsylvania, entitled Self-Discipline Outdoes IQ in Predicting Academic Performance of Adolescents has concluded that self-discipline – the driving engine behind time management – is a better predictor of adolescents' academic performance than IQ.
Parents can help their children master this easy to learn skill. A few tools are available for parents and kids to help establish priorities and start learning how to be self-organized. For example parents can use calendars to schedule kids’ activities.
Make a list or use a calendar like the one bellow with your child of everything that needs to be done on any particular day or even week. Go through scenarios of organizing time and making choices and talk about the consequences of poor choices. Encourage your child to take on activities which build self discipline. They may include sports, music lessons, a paper route, the responsibility of caring for a neighbor's pet, a clean room, or a host of other activities.
Use bed times to teach self discipline. It can be challenging for a young child to go to bed without creating a battle, this becomes a great opportunity to teach self discipline to children. After all, it requires a lot of self-control for a child to stay quietly in bed while parents are still awake. Set a bedtime, develop a routine which covers all the necessary bedtime tasks and work at getting your child to stay in bed without Mom or Dad falling asleep in the room. This requires work on the part of the parent but will pay off tremendous dividends in the end.
The study from the University of Pennsylvania also points out that another cause of lower achievement in life is instant gratification. Kids who are able to delay gratification will have greater self-discipline and ultimately do better in life.
Delayed gratification can be learned from gamifying activities, where a reward is given only when a certain task or multiple tasks are complete, thus perhaps taking several days to achieve a new reward. So, instead of thinking in minutes and hours, think of the big picture.
For example, AmbyGear's smartwatch has a smart calendar function that enables parents to create gamified tasks and activities, thus helping kids become more self-organized and create a habit of delaying gratification. It provides the right organizational tools to help your child learn to manage their time.
Self-discipline is a primary quality that will help children be successful in life. Start teaching them now how to think ahead, offer them the tools they need to build up their self-discipline to become the best they can be.