Easy Tips and Tools to Teach Your Children Time Management!

by denny hagel on May 5, 2012

Do you ever feel like if you could just get your children to understand the value of managing their time you could let go of a lot of stress?
Whether it is getting ready to go to school, getting ready for bed or doing their homework it can sometimes seem like our job as parents is to be the drill sergeant in the background constantly reminding them of the time and that they need to hurry up!
I would like to share with you a few tips and tools that I have personally used in my own family as well as suggested to many many parents over the years who reached their wits end with constantly struggling to impress upon their children the need to manage their time more efficiently.
The most important thing to remember is that children learn best when they are having fun so let’s be sure you approach this with your children in a light-hearted excited manner rather than one of “Now there won’t be any excuses for you to not be ready on time!”
The first thing is to provide your child with their own digital alarm clock and timer (the kind you wind and use for cooking).  Make them gifts with wrapping and all and present them to your child as items reserved for “grown-up” children…kids love to be treated as being older and grown up so this will promote a mindset of pride and excitement right from the start! Do not be concerned if they cannot tell time…they only need to be able to recognize numbers.
(*Note: This process works for children of all ages beginning as young as possible providing they can identify numbers and can be implemented at any age, yes, even teens!)
Next, you are going to work with them to decide how much time they will need to perform specific tasks.
For example, how much time does it take them to get ready for school in the morning? You can talk through all the things they need to do, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, getting dressed, making their bed etc.
As you talk about it write it out on paper and guide them through the process. Once an agreed amount of time has been reached then decide what time they need to wake up in order to be on time. For instance, if it takes them 45 minutes to complete their morning tasks and they need to be at the bus stop at 7:30 then you know they need to get up no later than 6:30 ( I always added a bit of time for unexpected situations).
Then show them how to operate the alarm clock, setting the time and turning off the alarm when it sounds. Of course you will need to double check this each time but it is important to allow them to feel as if they are responsible for doing it.
The key is to be sure they understand that it is very important to begin their day at the decided upon time. It must be their responsibility to get up and turn off the alarm. Of course it is always best to place the alarm where they can see it from their bed but must get out of bed to shut it off.

Next, get out the paper where you listed their morning duties and the allotted times and with that show them how to set their timer to the amount designated.
For example, if it was determined that they need 15 minutes to eat breakfast then show them how to set the timer for 15 minutes. If the next thing on their list is to brush their teeth and 10 minutes is needed to do this then explain to them that as soon as they are through with breakfast they must hurry to the bathroom, reset their timer for 10 minutes and begin brushing. Do this for all of their morning duties.
This process will take some guidance for awhile until they become familiar with it. Once they become accustomed to the process it is a highly recommended that weekly rewards be given for days they have successfully managed their time. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate reward…just something to give them the incentive and motivation to participate. You will be able to determine what will work best for your family.
Keep in mind that this is intended to be a long term process so not to set yourself or your child up for disappointment or failure. I once had a parent introduce this process to her 6 year old son and promised him at the end of the first week if he had been responsible and cooperative she would take him to a water-slide park! That obviously was highly motivating and her son passed with flying colors, however, the next week her son was thinking he would be rewarded with a trip to Disney and she was thinking she would reward him with an ice cream cone! Ha! Well, as you can imagine, that became a completely new situation that required our attention!!
In time, through repetition of the process your children will learn the “feel” of time passing which is typically very hard for children to grasp (even some adults too!). Eventually they will be able to set this up for themselves when something new arises where they need to be aware of time.
Using this process of teaching your children to be aware of time, respecting their part in managing their time and completing the tasks at hand within an allotted amount of time will go a long way toward teaching them to be responsible for themselves AND reduce your stress level!

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Denny Hagel is a child advocate and parent coach, devoting over 25 years to the success and well being of all children. She is the published author of over 150 articles on parenting, many of which have attracted international attention in over 24 countries.

Denny was blessed with forward thinking parents who raised her with an understanding of her value as an individual, her innate power to choose by way of her thoughts, ideas, opinions and beliefs, thus, instilling in her a strong sense of personal responsibility for what happens in our lives

She is the founder of Awakened Parenting LLC, a company dedicated to helping parents release parenting paradigms of the past and consciously choose to raise their children to approach life with a positive mindset and strong sense of self. It is Denny’s passion to combine what she learned through her formal education in early childhood education and psychology and what her parents instilled in her and pass this on to all parents.

Denny has created the discussion group "Awakened Parenting Discussion Forum" on Face Book which now has nearly 600 members.  She does on line coaching with parents and teachers who consult her on a regular basis. Denny collaborates with counselors, authors, coaches and others working in the parent coaching field. Denny Hagel is the author of the newly published "The Missing Secret to Parenting", "The C.P.R. Program for Parents & Teens:Conflict Prevention/Resolution Formula", "Mini-Me Syndrome" and two free e-booklets Parenting Using the Law of Attraction and Becoming an Awakened Parent".

  • http://www.travelwritingpro.com/ Claudia Looi

    I like these time tested and practical tips for time management that are easy to follow for kids of any age. These are tips that could go a long way and definitely help in growing responsible kids. Thanks Denny, always inspirational.

  • http://www.sherievenner.com Sherie Venner

    Denny, these are great strategies for kids of all ages. I am going to implement them with my 14 year old! Being aware of and developing respect for time is so important. Great post!

  • Lori

    Where you spying on me last night! I have been working with my younger son on the importance of this! 

  • Patricia

    You always come up with such great stuff!  and this article is no exception!  great job today!!

  • http://pristineperception.com/ Suzanne

    It is very important to teach the quality of time when they are young or you run into problems when they are older. Like kids coming home late with a bunch of ‘time’ excuses.  If it is ingrained at an early age they know when they are older, there are no excuses!

  • http://alexandramcallister.com/ Alexandra McAllister

    Great, informative post, Denny!  Being aware of and developing respect for time is so important! Love your inspiring articles! Thank you!

  • http://twitter.com/socialwithsara Sara Nickleberry

    This is an important quality to develop. Thanks for the post!

  • http://www.thechoicedrivenlife.com/ Olga

    Such great tips for children to be instructed on time management! It will empower them and feel like they are in control of ther own lives. Awesome Denny!

  • http://twitter.com/DivaBusiness Assist Social Media

    I wish someone would help me with this! This is a great tip! I could sure use some help!

  • http://www.mikemcdonaldfitness.com/ Mike

    Great tips. My problem has always been that I’m a night owl. Even in elementary and junior high I wouldn’t go to sleep until 1 or 2 am.

  • http://twitter.com/RonaeHOPEcoach Ronae Jull

    It is so important to begin the process of teaching kids time management strategies when they’re young! Of course, its never too late to learn a new strategy, it just might take a little more parental creativity to enlist the kids’ cooperation!

  • http://anitafiander.com/ Anita Fiander

    Great tips for time management for children, I will be sharing your wisdom!

  • http://www.thekidscoach.org.uk/ Naomi

    This is all great stuff and the type of work I do in my sessions with chidlren. I bought my children watches today so they can get to grips with time more and start planning activities around time etc.

  • Debpilgrim

    Morning|Kids|School – there really isn’t more to say :-).  Love your ideas and will look at implementing them with my kids!

  • Heatheramyprice

    My kids aren’t yet ready for this idea but I’m filing it in my “for the future” part of my parenting head.  thank you!

  • http://twitter.com/memktgservices Mandy Edwards

    That is such a good idea!  I could really use this with my 7 year old!

  • http://twitter.com/SueGlashower Sue Glashower

    Love your ideas! It is great to start them out young learning time management!

  • http://twitter.com/kimgarst Kim Garst ツ

    Haha! YES! This is so true! I always feel like I have to push them to get moving on almost everything – they probably think I am a nag :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/christiane.marshall Christiane Marshall

    Great idea and very detailed! I would add that some kids may need a more gradual approach. It would depend on the family dynamics, the age and development of the child. If it seems to be a really difficult process to learn, why not try to designate one to three days per week as “get up on your own” day? In some cases, trying a little reverse psychology for defiant types might help too:
    Mom: “Hey, Dad, do you think Jay is ready to get up on his own and have his own alarm clock?”
    Dad: “I don’t know. I think he’s not mature enough yet.”
    Mom: “Oh, I think he can do it. Hey, why don’t we try? Let’s see how he does just on Mondays. What do you think? I bet he’ll surprise you. I think he’s ready.”
    Dad: “Hmmm, well, okay. But no more days until he does really good on Mondays. “He can use the old alarm clock for now. When he gets more mature and can really get up on his own, then we’ll get him a very special grown up alarm clock.”

  • NormaDoiron

    Real Parents-Real Questions-Real Answers – Great book you have here, Denny.  I love the subjects you cover.  Good job!  

  • NormaDoiron

    Real Parents-Real Questions-Real Answers – Great book you have here, Denny.  I love the subjects you cover.  Good job!  

  • http://www.facebook.com/denny.hagel Denny Hagel

     Thanks Norma!

  • http://www.facebook.com/denny.hagel Denny Hagel

     Thanks for adding your insights Christiane…Although everything is child specific, I have found that it is very important when introducing a new concept that consistency is  key…when those introducing the concept seem a bit unsure, the child will pick up on that…been my experience it is best to present with excitement and confidence in their ability! Children will typically live up or down to our expectations! If the child seems a bit ‘less enthused’ a positive attitude, praise and a reward system can motivate them and not affect their self-esteem the way hearing the opinion “I don’t know. I think he’s not mature enough yet.” might.

  • http://www.facebook.com/denny.hagel Denny Hagel

     Agreed! The earlier the better!

  • http://www.facebook.com/denny.hagel Denny Hagel

     Thanks Mandy! I have seen this work really well with the 7-8 yr old age group!

  • http://www.facebook.com/denny.hagel Denny Hagel

     Great! Thanks for commenting!

  • http://www.facebook.com/denny.hagel Denny Hagel

     You aren’t alone…seems to be a common challenge for parents!

  • http://www.facebook.com/denny.hagel Denny Hagel

     Thanks Olga!

  • Carele Belanger

    Great Tips. Out of 3 children, I have only 1 who has time management problems and it drives me crayz, hihihi.

  • http://manifestingmydestiny.com/ Lorii Abela

    Great tips! Sure, a lot of parents can use these tips.. 

  • http://twitter.com/paperandpunch PaperandPunch.com

    Great article, Denny.  This is a hot topic around our house these days.

  • http://www.decoratingfiles.com/ Peggy @The Decorating Files

    These ideas would also work for “big kids” (i.e. adults) that need help mastering time management! Great post!

  • Theresa Cifali

    Awesome tips, Denny.  I have employed a time for myself for years…especially for my internet tasks I need to complete.  Never thought to teach my kids to use one.  

  • Susan Brown

    Great article! I can see some of these tips crossing over to my “Adult” schedule, too : )

  • Martha Richardson

    Great site for parents…where were you 28 yrs. ago?

  • Karen


  • http://www.el3mentsofwellness.com/ Carl Mason-Liebenberg

    I do not have children but from observation, I would say this is a huge thng for kids to learn. And it has to be tough as parents to teach it without being a nag. Still, a valuable lesson to learn for sure. Great article, Denny!

  • http://www.JenniferHerndon.com Jennifer

    You must be a fly on the wall at my house in the mornings Denny. I feel like I do nothing but drill sgt duty every morning and it’s not much fun. Even though my kids are young, I’m envisioning ways I can adopt your ideas to help make our mornings more fun!

  • Pingback: Some people think that parents should teach children how to be … | Better Time Management()

  • Sue

    What a great way, AND FUN, to get kids  managing their time at an early age.  Graet article!

  • http://suzannejones.biz.com/ Suzanne Jones

     These tips will most certainly allow kids to enjoy the most out of their days which is a huge asset! Doing the necessary things and leaving time for extras is a welcomed bonus which they will reap the rewards of.

  • http://pristineperception.com/ Suzanne Jones

    tips will most certainly allow kids to enjoy the most out of their days
    which is a huge asset! Doing the necessary things and leaving time for
    extras is a welcomed bonus which they will reap the rewards of.


  • http://CarlaJGardiner.com Carla

    Well, first of all not only children need a drill sergeant…grandmas do too. My hubby is constantly on me to be on time…guess it’s in my DNA.  Because I like to have fun, I am drawn to fun things…not rigid time schedules…again, my DNA.  Thankfully I have a grandma, with awakened health, that is an expert at parenting tips…thanks, Denny for keeping this fiery grandma on task and on time.

  • Olgahermans

    I read your post once more and realized how much I like it, I will post this on my page today!!

  • http://twitter.com/NormaDoiron Norma Doiron ✮´*•჻.

    Denny, you ROCK! This is mostly what I did when my kids were small. They have to be a part of the family, the team. They are not there to be served but to serve… (-_-) There are many things they can do for themselves and it is good for them to do so. It’s teaching them responsibility… You are awesome! x0x

  • http://twitter.com/Louise_Myers Louise Myers

    Time management is such an important skill. Thanks for posting these great tips!

  • http://twitter.com/Angietolpin Angie Tolpin

    This is such a great post for me to read today- as I am trying to get my children to help load the RV for our last camping trip of the summer! All six of them are under 12 yrs old… Usually I am very good at getting them excited to work… music helps a TON with right attitudes!

    BUt I am excited to get everyone their own alarm clocks and sit down going through schedules! That is needed especially with the olders!

    Timers are my best friend for everything!

  • http://www.helenabowers.com/ Helena Bowers

    Great tips Denny! I wish I’d known how to do this when my son was going up. I could’ve saved myself a lot of grey hair!

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