I have 3 teens, and they are each unique and come with their own strengths and weaknesses. But, I think they all struggle with knowing how to manage their time. As they get older, their bodies and minds begin to look more like adults, and so do their schedules. As momma’s, we have to help them build time management skills for teenagers before they become out-of-control, over-booked college students and adults.
Here are a few ways you can help.
Prioritizing is a tough time management for teenagers lesson. In fact, it’s a hard lesson for most of us. As a parent, the best thing you can do is to talk to your teens about prioritization often.
Pick a day of the week to discuss plans and goals. We use Sunday in our house as the
“reset” day. I spend time with each teenager reviewing the week’s schedule in regards to school, work, sports, meetings, and plans with friends. We also talk about my schedule, which gives me the opportunity to model the time management skills I want to see in them.
Prepare the Night Before
This is a tremendous time management opportunity for teens! Most of them don’t get enough sleep because their natural body clocks want to stay up late and sleep until noon. But, school happens, right? Encourage them to decide on clothes and lunch items the night before and to pack up all of the needed things for school, work, and sporting events.
Suggest the Use of a Calendar
Whether they prefer a paper calendar or an app, it’s is a necessary time management tool for teenagers. Teach them now to use the calendar to keep track of their schedule and goals for the week, month, and year. If they use an app, encourage them to set alarms to remind them of necessary self-care items, like medications.
Engage in Purposeful Communication
Our society is full of technology that claims to make life easier, but in reality, having a simple face-to-face interaction can provide us with invaluable time with our teens. So, as tempting as it can be to text everything to them because you know they will see it – try to engage in purposeful communication where the conversation can go in whatever direction they need it to go in.
Encourage Them to Manage Technology Distractions
I’m not a good role model for this time management for teenagers tip. I have multiple tech devices on while I work, but I do see that it can slow me down significantly. Talk to your teens about this and help them understand that being interrupted 11,937 times during one homework assignment might not be the best use of their time. Suggest (or demand) that the phone is placed on silent or in another room during homework sessions.
Discuss Goal Setting
We all need goals and teens are at a time in their life where goals are fundamental. It might be goals for the week or even for life in general. If you’re not sure how to assist with goal writing, use the SMART goal method to create goals.
Have Them Work in Blocks
Have you ever heard of the Pomodoro method? It’s a great time management tool for teens. The basic concept is to set aside a specific amount of time (usually 20-25 minutes) to work on one task. Once the time is up, take a 5-minute break from the task and walk away from work altogether – run to the bathroom, stretch, do a mindfulness activity. Then, go back to work again keeping track of your time in the same manner.
Some practices have you do this sequence about 5 times followed by a longer break, like 30 minutes. You might be thinking this seems counterintuitive, but in reality, our brains need these breaks to increase productivity. Look for an app to help keep track of the time – a few I like include The Pomodoro Technique Timer and Workflow Timer.
Encourage Mindfulness Techniques
Mindfulness exercises like meditation and deep breathing are necessary time management tools for your high school students. My kids’ school has them practice this throughout the day. Of course, they don’t think it works, but someday they will see the benefit of freeing your mind from work, tech, and stress.
The teen years are difficult. I don’t think anyone will deny this fact, but it’s our job as the momma to help them by teaching time management skills for teens to them. You might have to spoon feed it in baby bites, but know that at least some of it will stick in their brains and become a natural rhythm – promise!