by Natalie Chan

Helping children manage their time for the new school year

Transitioning from a more relaxed summer schedule back into a regular and set school schedule often entails some whining and moaning, but when done properly, can be seamless. Humans are creatures of habit, and structure helps these habits be functional.

Length: 2 minutes

Audience: For parents with children up to 13 years old

Be visual

Children are more enticed with colourful animations than black and white words. Consider creating a family calendar together where everyone tracks who needs to be where and when, with each member of the family colour coded. This fosters more communication throughout the planning process, teaches organisation skills to children, and instills a sense of responsibility and understanding of the family as a unit (no more “I want to play for 5 more minutes” when mommy’s got a doctor’s appointment!) This can also be digitised if that works for your family.

Stay committed

An often cited issue by parents is the inability of children to follow through with their time commitments. 10 minutes may mean 30 minutes and 20 minutes may mean 1 hour. Parents can minimise this by staying committed and maintaining that 10 minutes really means 10 minutes—do not let the children have free reign of what they want to do and when to do it (unless they can already be trusted, of course). This means that when children bargain, do not give in and stand firm. It may take time to adjust if this isn’t already implemented, but it’s worth the time. It is also useful to give reminders before time’s up as a warning so there is no reason to argue there wasn’t enough time to prepare wrapping up.

Being open (enough)

Children have outrageous schedules in Hong Kong. It’s understandable that it’s difficult scheduling everything into proper times—but rushing isn’t the most beneficial in learning how to manage time efficiently. Consider leaving bigger gaps in between school and activities to allow better understanding of sticking to schedules. Showing up late because of the minimal time allotted for the commute from one activity to another can show it’s okay to be late and create tardiness habits.

Relax a little

Scheduling time to do nothing at all has been shown within research studies to have tremendous benefits. Down time, for parents and children alike, are times of rejuvenation that provide the rest and mental clarity needed to fulfill other tasks. See it less as time “wasting” and more of necessary time to re-energise. Similarly to your body needing food to function, your mind needs quiet time to function optimally.

Time management is a skill we highly value here at OWN Academy. It’s a soft skill that we believe to be important for success as part of a number of our innovative programs. Visit us at ownacademy.co to see what we get up to!