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Learning effective time management as a teenager can lead to a lifetime of reduced stress.

Teens who don’t learn time management skills are at risk of becoming lifelong procrastinators. And waiting until the last possible minute to get things done could cause problems ranging from increased stress levels to relationship trouble.

It’s important to teach your teen how to manage her time wisely without requiring constant reminders or assistance from you to get her work done.

High school can be very busy. But the adult world can be even busier. It’s important to start teaching your teen how to manage his time now. He’ll enjoy immediate benefits such as:

♦ Reduced anxiety when projects are due in school or test dates are approaching.

♦ Increased responsibility and independence.

♦ Better decision-making skills.

♦ More time for family and friends.

♦ Better performance at work and school.

♦ More opportunities to relax and unwind.

Teens usually have very structured schedules. Their school day and their after-school activities are planned out for them. As a result, many of them can’t manage their time wisely.

Here are some steps you can take to teach your teen essential time management skills:

♦ Model good time management habits. If you’re always running late or you miss a lot of deadlines, your teen will follow suit. Practice managing your own time wisely and show your teen that you can accomplish the most important tasks in any given day.

♦ Give your teen time management tools. Whether it’s a planner that your teen writes everything in or an app that manages your teen’s schedule, help your teen find the tools that will work best for him. Talk about the importance of creating a schedule and using lists to prioritize his time wisely.

♦ Encourage your teen to write down her schedule. Your teen’s time may easily get taken up with video games or social media if she’s not careful. Teach her to schedule her day so she can set aside time for chores, homework, and other responsibilities.

♦ Help your teen prioritize activities. It’s common for teens to have conflicts in their schedules. A basketball game, birthday party, and church activity may all coincide. Talk to your teen about how to prioritize activities, based on his values and commitments.

♦ Encourage your teenager to develop routines. Encourage your teen to establish healthy habits, like doing her chores right after school. Once she gets into the routine of doing things in a certain order, she won’t have to waste time thinking about what to do next.

♦ Avoid nagging. It can be tempting to nag your teen or repeat reminders. But, telling your teen to do his homework or his chores repeatedly, reduces his responsibility and frustrates you both. Set rules about your expectations and follow through with logical consequences when necessary.

♦ Set limits on electronics. Your teen may waste countless hours on social media or playing video games if she’s not careful. Establish rules that help her create healthy habits with her cellphone and other digital devices.

♦ Encourage him to set goals. Talk to your teen about personal goals he wants to reach. Then, help him identify how much time he’ll need to work on that goal each day. Whether he wants to exercise for 30 minutes three times each week or decides to apply for scholarships one Saturday afternoon each month, goal setting is a great way to help him manage his time.

Encourage your teen to practice time management skills. There will be times that she’s going to miscalculate how long a project will take or days when she forgets a deadline. Help her learn from those mistakes, and remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Mary Migliaro is an educator, parenting mentor and consultant who lives in Cherokee County.

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