Monique is a sixteen-year-old girl living in Louisiana. She is a writer, dancer, and actress who enjoys playing video games and learning about others. Her favorite subjects are English, History, and Science; she plans to attend college and get a PhD in a related field.
While some of the pressures in high school are bad enough, teens are getting ready to face even bigger problems when they’re on their own in college. Helping them learn how to manage their time is the first step to making sure they’re on a path to success.
While I know as parents you want to help you teenager reach their goals, keeping on task is not exactly their idea of a good time. However, it’s something we need to learn because in a few years parents aren’t going to be there to help us all the time.
I highly suggest that you let your teen learn the value of time on their own. Why? Because they’re the ones who have to live with themselves. We need to make mistakes and learn what’s best for us now while we still have someone to fall back on. Teens need to learn what works for them. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t help out a little, right?
While time management is a personal thing that your teen will discover on his or her own, here are a few things you should keep your eyes on while they’re learning:
1. Make Sure There is a Balance
Teens have so much to juggle in this age. They’re going back and forth between school, friends, work, extra curricular activities, relationships, and much more. On top of all that there is the constant pressure looming over them not to fail. You need to teach your child balance. Too much of anything will lead to consequences and that is no different when it comes to their schedules. The biggest part of this step is prioritization. Teenagers need to learn what is and is not more important. The best way to do this is with matrix.
2. Say “No” Sometimes
Some teenagers don’t know how to say no and there is no shame in you saying it for them. If you notice your child is taking on too much and they want to add yet another activity to their already busy schedule, or they want to hang out with friends when clearly there are more important things just say no. Teenagers are starting to learn what’s important and what’s not in the world and differentiating between the two can be tough. Saying no will make you the bad guy, but in the long run it will be worth it. However, to make sure it was worth it you need to insure that your teen is doing what they should be doing after you say no. Make sure they get the tasks done and don’t just goof off because you told them they couldn’t do what they wanted.
3. Get Rid of Distraction
One of the biggest problems with teenager’s time management is that there are so many distractions. With Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, video games, T.V., and cell phones how could a teenager not be distracted? Make sure you can limit these distractions as much as possible when you know your teen needs to be working on something more important. While turning off the TV and taking away the cell phone is easy, the internet opens up an entire new realm of procrastination. “I’ll only be on Facebook for a few minutes,” can easily turn into two hours of scrolling through pointless newsfeed when they should be doing homework or chores. Set Boundaries on these distractions and monitor what you child is doing. Try to limit their computer usage as much as possible if they have a hard time concentrating. For example, If they have to type something make them write it on paper first them type it on the computer. Figure out what works for both you and your child without becoming too overbearing.
4. Make Sure Rest is in Their Schedule
You should always express to you child that whatever they do it must be done with the quality in mind. With that said, you child needs to rest and be relaxed in order to get everything done efficiently. Being overstressed or exhausted will lead to break downs, anxiety, soreness, short attention spans, headaches, moodiness and worst of all, lack of motivation. Not only will your child slack off, but it could lead to serious health issues. Have your teen take a break from everything once and a while and just relax. They need to slow down just like you do.
5. Make Sure They’re Organized
Organization is key to time management. Teach your teen organization techniques such as keeping a planner, taking notes, writing what they need to do down. Help them keep track of what needs to be done and make sure they keep to their schedules. A larger calendar outlining all their activities for the entire year may also be beneficial for both of you to keep track.
Make sure your teen understands that not managing their time wisely will lead to a consequence just like it would in the real world. If you mess up or forget about something relating to your job there are consequences right? Your teen needs to get use to this before it hits them hard. Set up some sort of punishment for ill managed time. It doesn’t necessarily have to be “grounding,” but maybe something like, “because you didn’t study you can’t go to your friends after school.” However, while you should have punishments, you should also teach your teen that it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you work through them and fix the problem. Don’t be too harsh.
PHOTO CREDIT: Katerha
If you liked this article get more Radical Parenting in our new book: Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I’m Grounded?