Helping Your Child Effectively Manage Their Time

Children have shorter attention spans than adults, and more often, they also have trouble managing their time. Unfortunately, if not managed wisely, they could bring this dilemma even when they grow older and it can also affect their future. There are many instances where poor time managements skills be the cause why a student may fail. For instance, they have too much extra-curricular activities that they have trouble juggling it and finishing their homework as well. This can also cause them to be overwhelmed and result in a possible burnout.

While teaching time management to children be tricky, it’s better to start instilling this skill to them early on. Even children need to learn how to properly prioritize the time they spend on activities and maximize the work they allot on that certain time. As such, many also claim that teaching them early on can also help them understand the importance and value of time.

We’ve gathered some tips as to how parents can help their child learn about time management as early as pre-school and primary level.

Tips for Pre-schoolers

Pre-schoolers generally don’t have much care about the world. They see things simply and, more often, still learning about consequences of their action. While not always correct and their perception of time may be warped, as parents, you can still help them by doing the following:

1. Teaching them how to wait

Since these children are still learning how the real-world works, they may have trouble waiting for certain things to be done. It’s not uncommon for a preschooler to be having tantrums because they want something right this very moment. However, by teaching them how to wait, you’re also giving them the impression that not all things happen in a snap.

Take for example if the child wants to go on play outside, you can tell them that they can but only once they finish helping with their chores. Not only is it giving them the sense of discipline and patience, but also it makes them even more excited for the prospect of what they’re getting. The Marshmallow Experiment is also one example as to why teaching them how to wait can be a good thing.

2. Set a routine for them

Following a routine may be boring, but it also has its benefits. It’s also a good way to teach the child proper time management skills as the routine would also indicate how much time they’ve used doing activities in their routine.

Tips for Lower Primary Students

Primary school can be vastly different from pre-school. The child may start learning about reading clocks, calendars, and keeping a new schedule that doesn’t revolve mostly on play time and exploration. With this, here are some tips for them to continue learning effective time management.

1. Teach organization skills

As primary school may be a new thing for students, they can also find it hard to do everything at once and this can result for everything to scatter in place. This is a good time to teach them organization skills.

You can start by teaching them to pack their schoolbags and everything they may need the next day the night before going to bed, so they don’t have to spend and waste time looking for things or forgetting to bring what they are required to in school.

As positive reinforcement, you can also inspire the child to keep up with this by giving them mini rewards for their hard work. The parent can even set a checklist for them so they know what they have to do to keep things in order.

2. Set a timer

Using a timer can also be a good way to introduce time management to children. They will not only know when they are running out of time, but they can also value every second they spend on their tasks. You can use a digital timer or a clock for this. Actively knowing how much time has passed and how much time they’ve spent can help them adjust their action and finish their tasks on time or even before the time is up.

However, you should also introduce this process slowly, else you’ll sound like a drill sergeant and it can stress out the child. If the child is also trying to catch up with the time allotted to them, they can also make careless mistakes. Make sure the time allotted for them to do a task is reasonable and achievable.

3. Consequences for time wasted

As stated before, there are still consequences when time is not used wisely. Let the child understand that homework and exams are now part of their academic lives and it will affect their grades if they will not use their time wisely. This will not only help them value time more but it will also help them understand responsibility as their homework and exams will be up to them.

By also setting consequences such as if they don’t finish their homework, like they won’t be allowed to watch TV or use their devices over the weekend, it’s also teaching the value of hard work in order to get what you want.

Tips for Upper Primary Students

Upper primary school students have more responsibilities than their younger counterparts such as more homework and school activities. These are also exactly why they have to be able to manage their time effectively and be flexible with their activities and studies. Here are some ways to help them develop these skills.

1. Teaching time estimation

How much time do you think you need to finish this task?

This can be a question you can ask your child when helping him/her set up his/her schedule. They should be able to determine how much time they might need in order to finish their given tasks. When helping them learning to estimate time, you can give them a chart to reflect the times of the day and how they can adjust their time based on how much they can spend for certain activities.

Make sure to guide them well with this so they can still have time for their hobbies, interests, and rest.

2. Breaking down long-term projects or assignments

When there comes a time for the child to do long-term assignments or projects, help them in doing it as efficiently as possible. One good way to do it is to break down the assignment into smaller pieces. Since it’s long-term, they can have more time to finish it. However, because of this, students may also think they shouldn’t do it immediately. This would also make them lose more time in making it when the deadline is near. By breaking down the assignment or project into smaller tasks, the child can slowly do the project until it’s complete.

For example, if the child has a Science project which is about experiments, you can help the child research on possible experiment he/she can do. Then, plan out the experiment the next day, and then buy the materials the next day before assembling the experiment over the week.

3. Set priorities

Help the child understand that in making a schedule of tasks, it’s important to know which ones should be done first and which ones could go for later. They should be able to learn and know how to analyze their tasks and organize them according to priority.

You can use different techniques to help them understand how they can pick out the tasks that should be done first. Like for example, you can use a Lego tower analogy. The blocks are all the tasks they need to do, but when building a tower, they should start with the base block, the tasks they should prioritize, before going to the smaller ones, which they can also do later. Aside from that, the parent can also speak with the child about their goals and help them get their schedule back on track if there are issues that prevents them from keeping up with it.


Time is universally important to people, but teaching the concept and importance of it to younger children can be tricky. However, this shouldn’t stop parents to teach it to their children nonetheless.

Managing time wisely and effectively has so many beneficial effects on the child not only during their academic years but also in the future when they start working and have a career. Children can also use their time management skills to grow academically while still having time for their interests, hobbies, and developing socially. As they start to grow more, children should also be taught how to adapt to situations effectively to help them manage whatever is thrown at them in the future.

If you’re still having trouble teaching your child effective time management skills, send us a message at FamilyTutor, the best home tuition agency in Singapore. We have a wide array of highly qualified and skilled home tutors who will not only help your child reach their academic dreams but also teach them valuable life skills such as discipline, self-confidence, and managing time.



Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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