Who knows how to manage time better than a teen, am I right? Good. I got your attention. We all know that while teens have time on their side, it’s not usually the first thing on their minds. Teenage years are riddled with hormonal flux and becoming. If teens aren’t in the middle of shedding their skin and evolving, they’re off trying to get their kicks. Remember?
While this is all happening, teens are also undergoing an essential phase that will segue them into their adult lives. The formation of values, character, and all-around habits occurs at this time.
Why Put in the Time
It’s one thing to tell a teen they need to be on time and offer consequences as they do in school or jobs. It’s another to show and teach them how to tactically handle time with the GR8EST possible chance of making the most of the resource that is especially abundant to them at this phase in their lives.
If you struggle with managing time and you’re reading this laughing quietly, wondering how you could teach your teen about time management when you haven’t gotten it down yourself, don’t worry.
You’re actually in the presence of a huge opportunity to learn by teaching, which can be a highly effective way to understand and drive discipline.
Understand that it behooves you to lead with experience. If your experience with time isn’t wonderful, be kind to yourself, recognize this. Become aware of the ways both detectable and not, that your teen has already absorbed the habits of those around them. This is a major determinant in where they currently stand. Correcting your behavior, in this case, is necessary for helping them along. If the likelihood is that they’ll model your behavior, paying attention to which talk you’re walking will be best.
Don’t Preach, Suggest and Show
Part of modeling behavior for teens is nudging along their absorption by making suggestions. As parents, it can be natural to want to make sure we’re constantly checking in and sending reminders. This can feel berating to teens, even if it’s not.
The best way to get the message across is to drive home gentle suggestions with actions that show that your values and priorities align with what you say they are. This cohesiveness is attractive and grounding, especially to a young person who is continually trying to put the pieces together.
Make it Look Easy
Don’t complain about how hard it is to keep track of time, or to get everything done. Don’t brag about how successful or unsuccessful you are at it.
Act, and let it speak for itself. When you’re not sprinkling the aforementioned gentle nudges, don’t put too much emphasis on how GR8 time management is, (you can come to GR8NESS for that).
Teens can be repelled by things that are forced too heavily on them, so be careful not to enable this perception of time management in them. Stay cool, make it happen, watch them watch, and learn.
Provide them with Tools
The tangibles in time management matter. This doesn’t mean you need to go out and purchase some trendy, state of the art organizational system. The basics will do. Each teen has their own needs and unique situation. Assess what sort of tools might help them along.
Smartphones provide access to a calendar, method of communication, clock, GPS, and alarm systems. These, of course, are basics when it comes to time management tools. Tools go beyond this; having handheld access doesn’t necessarily teach them how to use it.
The other thing to consider is the significant distraction probability. For teens who struggle to use their phones for time optimization, a simple but effective hack would be to break it down to basics. The association of function is key to this concept. If they learn to carry a planner, it has its unique association that doesn’t deliver Instagram notifications (yet).
Be Systematic but Realistic
After you’ve helped identify and provide time management tools for your teen, help them develop a system that works for them. Teens are pretty dynamic and energetic when provoked with the right influence. Simplicity is all that is needed here.
An easy to integrate approach will be much more likely to stick than some radical set of changes. A great method to being successful with managing time is managing perception. Try these steps in devising a plan:
- Talk to them, their teachers, coaches, and authorities to derive a solid sense of priorities.
- Observe where current time management needs improvement.
- Use tools to work against challenges.
- Try to minimize a plan of execution to simple “rules of thumb.”
- Pass them the wheel.
Time management is a tricky thing to nail for everyone. Teens are in a great space in their lives to set their future selves up with good habits that will help them succeed across various aspects of their lives. This is your reminder that sometimes, teaching is the best way to learn.