I recently wrote a post about time management for teens and thought that it might be useful to provide the parents of teenagers with some pointers as well.
Some teenagers will require more guidance than others when it comes to organizing and managing their time. Input from parents should try to provide the right amount of support without controlling everything.
This is often easier said than done, but ultimately, the impetus has to come from them in order for this to succeed. Trying to enforce everything will be met with resistance and will end up in a massive fail.
As a parent, these are some good ways to support your teen.
1. Be a good role model
If you’re always rushing around, being late, doing everything last-minute, that does not set a great example. Be a role model for your kids and lead by example.
None of this do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do bullsh*t.
If you need some help with your own time management, take a look around this site – there’s plenty to go at and more coming all the time!
2. Help your teens prioritize
Being able to prioritize a task list is a crucial part of good time management. Show them how to do it and let them run with it.
The Eisenhower Box is a great example of a simple tool that can make a huge difference in time management. It may also be a new concept to you, in which case, take a look at it and see if you can apply it to your own task list.
Check out this post: What Is The Eisenhower Box?
3. Don’t be a nag
If you make time management stressful, feel like a chore or something you are imposing, you’ll be met with resistance.
So, try to avoid nagging. Let your teen form the habit of good time management through being accountable to themselves, not because you beat them with a stick – figuratively speaking, obvs.
Guide, don’t control.
Teenagers need to take the lead role in the process. This makes it empowering, builds confidence and accountability, but most crucially, the strategy will be more likely to stick if it comes from them.
The best way to keep them on track is to agree with them to hold a weekly review and if they have gone a little off track, this is a good opportunity to highlight areas that require attention, so that they can get back on track the following week.
4. Establish rules on time-wasting activities
When you are setting the framework for a schedule, also discuss when it is and isn’t acceptable to engage in time-wasting activities.
I think teenagers are entitled to chill out when they can, as the academic demands are probably greater now than when you were at high school.
However, where possible, they should be steered away from “low value” activities, such as game consoles, TV and social. That does not mean a blanket ban on these things, but it important teenagers understand the opportunity cost involved and that they do not dedicate inordinate amounts of time to these activities.
Encourage them to schedule time for “chill out” activities and don’t let them interfere with school work-related tasks.
5. Encourage goal setting
If you know where it is you’re trying to get to, it is much easier to plan for the journey.
So encourage your teen to begin with an end in mind.
What do they hope to achieve in being better at managing their time?
How will it benefit them?
What can they do with more time?
Asking and answering these questions will help your teen to stay committed to a time management strategy.
Make them know your ‘why’, because it is a lot easier to do something when you have a purpose than when you don’t.
6. Teach a system they can use
The Eisenhower Box mentioned above is a great example of a system that is simple to implement, but can have a huge impact on better time management.
Introduce your teen to the Pomodoro Technique and show them how to work in blocks.
Check out this post: What Is The Pomodoro Technique?
Check out this post: Does The Pomodoro Technique Work?
Other ideas include sharing any scheduling apps, tools or methods you use yourself and setting them up with Google calendar, etc.
7. Encourage organization
Being organized generally will help improve time management.
Whilst being neat and organized is not necessarily a trait you would naturally associate with a teenager, you can help develop this by doing your best to keep the home environment decluttered and organized.
8. Create a distraction-free environment
Providing your teen with an area a place to study that is comfortable and free of distraction is one of the most helpful things you can do.
This place is almost always their bedroom, but if you have the luxury of a study room, make that accessible and set it up accordingly.
9. Pair work with reward
Positive reinforcement can be a powerful tool and everyone appreciates it when hard work and success is recognized.
Creating incentives for deadlines met and goals achieved can help your teen remain focused on sticking to the strategy.
10. Encourage a better sleep routine
According to the National Sleep Foundation, teenagers need 8-10 hours’ sleep each night to function at their best.
While you won’t always be able to dictate when your teen sleeps, try to emphasize how important it is and get them to understand how a lack of sleep affects performance.
11. Be open to negotiate
Let them know they can negotiate on chores and other obligations if they feel they have too much on their plate.
This doesn’t mean they get a free pass to avoid all help around the house, but communicate to them that it is okay to reschedule these tasks if they have a lot of high priority activities pending.
Time Hack Hero Takeaway
Although it’s been a while since I was one myself, I think it’s fair to say that being a teenager can be much tougher than being an adult for a variety of different reasons that I don’t need to get into here. But needless to say, the average teenager has a lot going on and so addressing something like time management may seem way down the list of priorities.
However, learning to manage time effectively is not a subject that is covered in the school curriculum and yet it is something that can be extremely valuable in both teenage and throughout adult life.
Parental support and guidance in the fundamentals of good time management will be highly beneficial to your teen’s academic and work life and so well worth the effort.
Recommended Further Reading:
Seven Habits of Highly Successful Teens by Sean Covey (2014)
What’s The Deal With Teens And Time Management by Leslie Josel (2015)
Getting Things Done for Teens by David Allen, Mike Williams and Mark Wallace (2018)