By Vaibhav Datar
As we move into the dynamic professional world, one of the major topics during induction is of time management. Ever wondered why? Because we have never been formally taught the importance of time, except for being on time for school prayers. Parents rarely sit with their child to talk to them about the importance of managing one’s time. Whatever we learn as a child comes from observing seniors and through personal experiences. What if we could teach time management skills to our children early? It would help them become efficient and productive at a young age.
Let’s look at a few things we could do as parents to inculcate the habit of time management in children.
Maintain a calendar
Teach children to maintain a monthly and weekly calendar with a daily to-do list. With a monthly calendar, they would be aware of what they need to achieve that month. It also helps them to prepare well, in case of emergencies.
A monthly calendar also makes for a good talking point. For example, we could have dinner table conversations with the child on activities he/she prefers in the foreseeable future. They may want to go shopping or to the cinema, host a party or go to a game; it can all be planned on the monthly calendar. This prepares us for what’s coming up, while teaching children to plan ahead.
Learn to schedule
Let us teach the importance of estimating a time period for a certain activity. So many projects fail because the team could not estimate their work time well. Bad scheduling can lead to catastrophic outcomes, with related activities going into a spin, simply because a team leader could not estimate the time required for a project. People tend to overshoot the given time frame and it can create a big mess. Let us ask our children to estimate the time required for doing a particular activity. The child will keep gradually learn to plan well.
Importance of time
A child who understands the value of time will also understand the importance of being efficient and productive. A child will not only believe in his own time management, but can also become an ideal for his friends. The way the child performs his task and goes about planning things, will prove how effective he can be. With time, he will learn to manage time in a better manner.
“A time for everything and everything within time” could be the mantra for our homes. There has to be a time for food, like breakfast, lunch and dinner. At the same time, meal times cannot extend beyond a particular duration. There has to also be a time for studies, but students can avoid sitting for studies beyond a stipulated time. This helps the brain to allocate resources in anticipation of say, meal times.
With time, we as parents can also talk about timelessness, which is as important as time management. We find ourselves engrossed in particular tasks so much that we lose track of time and space. That’s meditation. What if we could teach that it is okay to forget time when we are completely engrossed in the activity we are doing. For example, if the child likes to paint, then let there be no fixed time. When the child is finished, he will feel fresh and rejuvenated. He would be happy to have spent quality time creatively.
The earlier we teach our child, the importance of time, the better it is. The results of time management are bound to be extraordinary.
(The writer is a midlife coach and author of Simplify Your Life.)