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This is my weekly post at Forever Parenting about teaching time management to kids.

In an effort to help the boys feel more in control of their day I have tried a few different strategies.

When the older ones were four I printed out a list of things that they do in any given day, complete with a cute clip art picture for each item. I slipped the printout into a plastic sheet protector and got some dry erase markers. Then the boys could see what the plan was and cross off items as we completed them. If there was a picture we weren’t going to use that day I crossed it off in advance.

When they were older, listing the day’s activities on a dry erase board and letting them check off or erase the items was fun for a while.

A more intensive plan included making a pocket chart and printing tasks on business cards. I listed out each subject of school, and as many free time and fun activities as I could. The boys had fun setting their own schedules for the day by putting cards into the slots in the order of their choosing. Come to think of it, I should get back to that one. The younger boys might really enjoy it as well.

One strategy I haven’t used but I know is highly effective with young children is to take pictures of all the scheduled activities and put them in a small photo album. The child can flip through the activities. This technique really helps with helping the child feel more secure and structured; I’ve also seen it used to help reduce power struggles. Instead of arguing over brushing teeth, the parent just points to the picture and says something cheerful like “Oh look! The next pic is for tooth brushing.”

For older kids, using a planner is really effective. I know that many schools require students to use a planner to record assignments and communicate with parents. This is a great foundation for calendar and planner usage in the future.

Speaking of which, the boys each picked out their own little calendar this January. The younger ones just look at the pictures, but the older boys have been marking events in theirs. I think it’s adorable. 🙂

So what about you? What kinds of things do you do to help your kids manage time?