Are you frustrated by figuring out the best ways to help your child manage their time? Is it harder during distance or hybrid learning? Trust me, you’re not alone!
Here are 5 tips with some examples so you can try various techniques and figure out what works best.
1. SET UP ROUTINES
While some people prefer to do things “on the fly,” this approach doesn’t always work best for school children. They need more structure and often prefer to know what’s coming up next.
Here are some things to consider including in your child’s daily routine:
Stick to a regular wake-up time
Get some natural light in the morning (maybe take a 20-minute walk before school starts or during a break)
Review the schedule for the day (and make it easily accessible)
Prepare lunch & snacks in the morning (or night before); have them ready for breaks between classes
Complete schoolwork during breaks between classes or on days with fewer classes
Reduce blue light 1 hour before bedtime (turn off screens!)
Stick to a reasonable bedtime- don’t stay up too late
2. MAKE SCHEDULES EASILY ACCESSIBLE
It’s important your child knows where to find their schedule so they are aware of the class times and locations (online links).
Especially for younger children, familiarize them with their schedule first thing in the morning to make it easier for them to follow during the day.
The most important thing is that your child will be able to access it. If they don’t check it, it’s useless!
Here are some options for posting schedules:
Print and post (on a wall, corkboard, or magnetic location) the class schedule provided by your child’s school
Write out the schedule on a whiteboard or piece of paper (and maybe put it in a sheet protector)
Create and post a colorful visual timetable (best for younger students!)
Bookmark the online schedule the school provides
Enter class meetings and homework times into an electronic calendar and set audible and visual reminders. These are great because they’re accessible on various devices and shareable.
In addition to class times, consider adding meals, homework times, breaks, chores, and extracurricular activities to your child’s schedule.
3. USE TIMERS
Part of keeping to a schedule is remembering to shift between tasks and activities. Students who need reminders have several options to keep them on track:
Set reminders in an electronic calendar
Set alarms in phone/tablet
Set a pomodoro timer online or in an app
Set a timer/alarm on a digital watch or a watch that has pre-set reminders such as, “homework,” “relax,” “slow down,” and “focus.”
Set alarms and/or timers in personal assistants such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant
Use a pre-set timer cube (super easy for younger students, since they don’t need to do anything other than turn the cube to the desired number of minutes)
Check out the resources listed at the end of this blog for links to a Pomodoro timer, watch with pre-set reminders, and a pre-set timer cube.
4. ESTIMATE TIME TO COMPLETE TASKS
Students need to be able to estimate time in order to adequately create long-term and daily schedules.
When students have difficulty with time management, I recommend they estimate how long they think tasks will take and compare that time to how long they took in reality. They can do this in a few ways:
Set a timer at the start of a task and stop it at the end
Use a Pomodoro timer
Check the time on a clock at the beginning and end of working on a task
Completing a chart like the one below will help students gain a sense of how long it takes to do activities:
Once students have a handle on how long tasks take, they can better schedule their time to do homework, chores, and other activities.
5. CHUNK LONG-TERM ASSIGNMENTS
Instead of trying to complete projects and studying all in one day, students should “chunk” the work they’re going to do over a period of time. They may do this on paper or electronically:
Write each task in a weekly planner or monthly calendar. This is a good way to help students see their plans all in one place (instead of having to click on and scroll through days in an online calendar).
Enter individual tasks into an online calendar. Some students like to write them on a monthly calendar and enter the specific times they’re going to do the work in their electronic calendar.
Write each task on a sticky note and put it on a large calendar. If a task doesn’t get finished on the date it was scheduled, simply move the sticky note to another day.
Enter individual tasks into an online planner, such as schooltraq or myhomework
It’s best to start with the due date and move backward, filling in the tasks on the preceding dates. It’s always good to add a buffer between the last day of tasks and the due date, just in case it takes longer to do the tasks than estimated, or if something unexpected comes up.
These simple solutions should (hopefully!) make time management during remote learning less stressful, reduce tension in your home, and help your children become more independent.
To help you remember to include some of these tips in your child’s distance or hybrid learning routine, download my Distance Learning Checklist.
Do you have any apps or products you’d recommend? What time management techniques work best for your child? Please share in the comments section below!
Please note that I’m not being paid to represent any of the products listed above. They’re just examples of various options available and I encourage you to explore others on the market or even create your own.