Better three hours too soon, than one minute too late...
Time management is such a difficult concept for so many people yet it can be a simple thing to learn-IF you go about it the correct way. I always think of a conversation I had with a friend who is a professional organizer. She came to consult with me on organizing my closet. She said my prior attempts at organizing this space failed because I jumped in at the organizing phase instead of at the "pre" stages. Like organizing our homes, closets and paperwork...if we jump in at the wrong stage of learning time management we are setting ourselves up to fail.
This is especially true for our children.
Time management is not an innate skill. Yet, we expect our children (and adults) to manage their time efficiently without EVER teaching them HOW to do it. In my opinion, schools should be teaching this very valuable skill as early as preschool and parents should begin laying down the foundation during the toddler years. Keep in mind that "telling" time is much difference than managing time.
A child can tell you what time it is or what time they go to school, or how long they are in school but can they articulate and understand what 6 hours FEELS like? Can they articulate this span of time using "language" words like: before, after, next, first, last etc... Do they know how many things they can get done during that time? Do they know when 6 hours, 1 minute, 5 minutes or a few minutes has passed? Before you think that this only applies to young children, think again! Teens and even some adults really and truly have difficulties with these concepts as well.
How do you know when your child doesn't speak the language of time?
*Frequently late for school, practices etc..
*Difficulty with learning time concepts in early grades
*Difficulty with long term projects
*Asks to stay home from school to finish projects/homework/prepare for tests
*Have trouble with transitioning from one activity to the next
Symptoms of young adults/adults who don't speak time language:
*Seems rushed frequently
*Unprepared for meetings
*Cancels appointments (because they don't want to face that they have an issue and are unprepared)
So, what can you do?
Try these tools: Elapsed Time Game, Teaching Young Children Time Management Foundations or Teens and Time Management.