Local Mompreneur Shares Time Management Secrets
Written by Tiffany Marascio, guest writer of Hello Woodlands and a local Woodlands mother of three. Marascio began making planners for her kids when they struggled with organization and now owns Planners4Kids to help make kids planners for life.
If you have kids, you know how hard it can be to get them ready for, well, anything. Kids simply think of time differently than adults. Much of this is due to lack of experience, but thinking ahead can be taught.
Time management is about so much more than calendars. It encompasses thinking about the future, setting and working toward goals, breaking down projects into manageable parts, and even saving money for future purchases. The earlier kids get started, the better, but anyone can learn at any time.
Different ages need different approaches, but even a 2 year old can begin thinking about events coming up. For this young age, it’s helpful to use events that happen every day as benchmarks such as mealtimes or naptimes. For example, a toddler can understand that dance class is after naptime, or a trip to the park will happen after breakfast. This also helps with your planning. Perhaps you can arrange a play date to occur at the same time once a week.
As kids get older, they can process more information and you can let the child take over more of the process.
Even if you are not a natural planner (don’t worry, you can get there!) it’s still possible to make it fun!
So how can planning be engaging? For beginning readers and tweens, start with a planner. This can be a very simple planner. Let the child pick it out, either at a store or from the Internet. A whiteboard, family station, or family wall calendar can work as well. Pre-readers can draw in their activities. Stickers are another way to make planning fun. There is a huge selection of cute stickers widely available that kids can use to signal upcoming events. Encourage the use of colors for different activities. In addition to making planning more fun, assigning colors for activities helps them remember.
Planners and calendars are also fun keepsakes. It can be like a memory book for what your child was interested in during those years. If your child prefers to use a computer, then a calendar app may be what gets them excited. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Just use the format that engages the child the most. However, be aware that studies have shown that the physical act of writing things down leads to better memory of upcoming events.
It’s also important to set aside a specific time and place for planning, and try to stick to the same time and place everyday. This will vary for each child. In addition, where the planner is stored can impact how often it gets used. If a planner is stuck in a bookshelf it may not get seen and used. Some kids prefer to look at their planners over breakfast, while others may like to store their planner on a bedside table and look ahead at nighttime. An added bonus for “planning time” is that this can be quality time spent with the child, talking about their day or what they hope for in an upcoming day. Make sure you both have enough time to spend a few minutes on planning so it doesn’t feel rushed, or like another chore. It can be fun to point out upcoming fun dates like St. Patrick’s Day or Valentine’s Day and all the traditions that go along with each day. You can even look up fun national holidays such as National Pancake Day, or National Squirrel Appreciation Day!
It’s important to note that multitasking is difficult for children. They need a block of time for one event only to encourage focus.
Another aspect of planning is looking into how to use free time. For this, you can have your child make a list of what they want to do when they are bored or what they like to do in their free time, and refer them back to the list when they are bored. They can create a list of things they would like to learn how to do, and from here, you can help your child break down the task and find an attainable goal.
Above all, remember to be flexible! Sometimes life gets hectic, and that’s ok. Just get right back to it when you can. And don’t forget to have fun!
Learn more about Tiffany Marascio and how her business Planners4Kids helps make kids planners for life at Planners4Kids.com.