Is 24 Hours Just Not Enough?

The lights dim. A smoky haze surrounds the scene. Close your eyes and imagine a Rolling Stones concert back in the 1960s. Or maybe it’s Cher, strutting her long legs and even longer black hair back and forth across the stage. Suddenly, the beating of rock and roll drums fills your eardrums. A steel guitar launches its electric pitch. The music has begun. “Time is on my side, yes it is. Time is on my side, yes it is.” The throaty growl of Mick Jagger, how could you ever forget that? “If I could turn back time. If I could find a way.” Now it’s Cher, and her unmistakable look and sound that permeates your minds’ eye. Boy, those were the good times…

But what do these two very different blasts from the past have in common? They’re both talking about time. Both pursue the idea that time is either friend or foe. This isn’t new, though. A focus on time, its fleeting qualities and never ending ability to flabbergast us, has long been the subject of various art forms. There’s a reason for this. It has to do with the elusive and changing qualities associated with the passing of time. It seems we never have enough of it these days. Technological advances aside, why do we always need more time?

You might be thinking about your kids right now. They can definitely be a drainer of time. They don’t know how to efficiently plan their time, which causes you to get off schedule, too. You’ve spent years learning how to plot and plan. Now, you need to consider teaching your children those skills. Research has indicated that time management is so important it should really be viewed in the same realm as reading and writing, as a skill that can be taught and practiced. Begin this task by using a tangible lesson to get your kids thinking about their time and how they use it.

Research has also been able to correlate self-discipline (which is the driving factor behind time management) with success later in life, and as a better predictor of academic performance than IQ. This indicates parents need take a more active role in the development of this skill, instead of just relying on the ‘maturity factor’ to kick in. I know this sounds like one more thing on your never ending to-do list, but consider the long term implications. Knowing how to manage time can be a game winning strategy. Plus, we have some great tips and suggestions on how to begin this learning process, even in young children.

One way to begin encouraging the development of time management awareness is to create a Body Beautiful Chart and hang it on the bathroom door. Draw an outline of a body and illustrate it with words and images depicting personal hygiene tasks that need to be completed. You can start this around age 3 and it begins teaching time management by allowing your child to complete a given set of tasks independently. As they progress with the tasks, you can set a time limit for each or for the set as a whole.

What about watching TV or computer screen time? We all know the time killers these two activities can be! Here’s a way to increase your child’s awareness of exactly how much time they are spending on each. Get a copy of a TV guide. Go through it with your child and have them circle the shows they most want to watch. Have them write in the length of each show and add them up. Finally, set a daily time limit and have them try to follow it. Monitor their progress and intervene where necessary. For the computer screen time, make a weekly chart and have your child record the length of time each day they are spending on the computer. Add it up at the end of the week, discuss and set goals or limits.

Remember, time management is not a skill that can be mastered in a day or two. It involves a process, just like reading and writing. Although these may seem like small steps on the road to a very big hurdle, early intervention and parent guidance can mean the difference between raising a Felix Unger or an Oscar Madison. Which of these ‘blasts from the past’ would you rather be credited with raising?