Parenting journey

Goal: Help your teen develop their time management skills

Teen with conflicting time demands
Time management seems to be difficult for a lot of people. If your teen has any sort of executive dysfunction, like ADHD or ASD, you’ll have noticed they struggle with making plans or remembering their chores and assignments.

Teaching your teen how to manage their time effectively is crucial for their success in school, work, and personal life. Here are steps you, as a parent, can follow to help your teen develop strong time management skills.

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1 | Lead by example

Model good time management

Demonstrate your own time management practices. Teens often learn by example, so show them how you prioritize tasks, use a calendar, and avoid procrastination.

2 | Introduce time management tools

Calendars and planners

Encourage the use of a digital calendar or a physical planner to track assignments, appointments, and other commitments.

Time management apps

Introduce them to time management apps that can help organize tasks, set reminders, and monitor how they are spending their time.
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3 | Teach them goal setting

Set SMART goals

Teach them to set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals to provide direction and focus.

Short-term and long-term goals

Help them distinguish between immediate tasks and longer-term objectives, planning their time accordingly.
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How to set SMART Goals and actually achieve them

4 | Help them develop a routine

Establish a daily routine

Encourage a consistent routine that allocates time for homework, extracurricular activities, relaxation, and sleep.

Adjust as needed

Teach them to be flexible and adjust their routine based on their changing priorities and commitments.

5 | Help them prioritize tasks

Teach prioritization

Show them how to prioritize their tasks based on urgency and importance, focusing on what needs to be done first.

Use a priority list

Encourage making a to-do list that ranks tasks from most to least important.

6 | Help them break tasks into smaller steps

Chunking tasks

Teach them to break larger projects or tasks into smaller, more manageable steps to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Set deadlines for each step

Help them set mini-deadlines for these steps to ensure steady progress.

7 | Encourage focused work sessions

Pomodoro Technique

Introduce them to time management techniques like the Pomodoro Technique, which involves working for a set period (e.g., 25 minutes), followed by a short break.

Limit distractions

Discuss the importance of minimizing distractions, such as turning off notifications on their phone or computer while working.

8 | Stress the importance of breaks

Scheduled breaks

Emphasize the need for regular breaks to rest and recharge, preventing burnout and maintaining productivity.

Balance work and play

Remind them of the importance of balancing their academic or work life with social activities and hobbies.

9 | Teach them how to review and adjust their plans

Weekly reviews

Encourage weekly reviews to reflect on what was accomplished, what wasn’t, and why. Use this as an opportunity to adjust strategies as needed.

Learn from experience

Help them understand that time management is a skill that improves with practice and learning from past mistakes.

Discuss procrastination

Talk about the reasons for procrastination and strategies to overcome it. Understanding why they procrastinate can help teens develop tactics to avoid it.
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From Procrastinator to Productive: How to help your teen master time management

10 | Teach the value of saying 'No'

Setting boundaries

Teach them it’s okay to say no to additional commitments if they don’t have the time or if it doesn’t align with their priorities.

11 | Highlight the importance of sleep and health

Good sleep hygiene

Stress the importance of a good night's sleep for productivity and overall health.

Healthy habits

Encourage regular exercise and healthy eating as part of their routine to boost energy levels and concentration.
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By following these steps and consistently practicing good time management habits, your teen will be better equipped to handle their responsibilities and commitments effectively, leading to a more balanced and productive life.
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