Keeping Kids Organized

Start Early Teaching Time Management

They can be playful kids and understand time management.
They can be playful kids and understand time management.© Getty Images/Thinkstock

Even preschoolers are old enough to learn about how time works, how we measure it and how it can help make sense of the world. Children who manage time efficiently are more likely to measure minutes and use them to their advantage. Start by introducing your preschooler to the tools of time, like a large child's calendar, clock and stopwatch.

Begin by explaining concepts like days and hours and relate them to something specific, like bedtime, mealtime and playtime. If your child is ready for kindergarten, enlist his help scheduling activities that he will naturally look forward to, and place them on a calendar where he can count down to each significant day. Some good candidates are birthdays, holidays and family vacations.

With a better understanding of time, it'll be easier for you to share concepts like planning and procrastination with your child. Remember, these are difficult ideas even for adults sometimes, so be gentle but persistent. If you set goals, like requesting that your child put his toys away before bedtime, always provide positive reinforcement for a job well done. Offering time as a reward can work, too, like delaying bedtime or extending playtime.

One key to making time concepts fun instead of an ordeal is to employ your child's natural curiosity as part of the learning process. Want to explain about seconds? Challenge him to hold his breath and count off the seconds on a stopwatch. Want to explore the notion of scheduling and why it's an important part of making things work effectively? Take him to the airport and show him the planes; then introduce him to the arrivals and departures screens.