Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Monday | September 28, 2009
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Getting children to manage their time
Nadisha Hunter, Gleaner Writer

POSITIVE Parenting

Children are not normally skilled at managing their time. Without guidance, their social activities may be given priority over their schoolwork.

Gemma Gibbon, freelance child psychologist, is informing parents that they can play a crucial role in helping their children get over those challenges by giving them support and guidance.

"Parents should take the time to work with their children to identify their goals and help them to understand the effects of not following a plan to achieve their dreams," the psychologist stated.

She further pointed out that, for children to improve their organisation and time-management skills, parents' supervision is critical.

However, the psychologist stated that though parents should be available to direct their children on the right path, they should never be too forceful as that could affect the children's self-esteem.

"Supervise them but don't govern and criticise them, remember that encouragement strengthens labour," she argued.

Trying to keep children focused can sometimes be a daunting experience, Gibbon added, but with relentless efforts it can be fruitful.

What to do:

Create a schedule that works specifically for your children.

Sit down with the children and write a schedule which they should follow. Paste it on the fridge, which is the best place for reminding children to do things.

Children who find it hard to study and concentrate should be given minimum sessions of study followed by a few minutes of free time.

Study time should be when the children are wide awake and alert. Picking the wrong time will distract them, and they won't do their best.

Let your children know you are always available to help and if they need help in a particular area, answer those questions.

Create a reward system for staying on track and using time effectively.

Use incentives, not threats. If you constantly threaten your children with punishment for not getting work done on time, the possibility exists that the children will get angry with you.

Don't argue with your children, and don't automatically hand out a punishment. Children will become resentful of work and start to rebel.

Identify a positive role model whom the children can emulate then offer the suggestion to the children.

Consistency is the key. Do the same things every day unless there is a reason to change. It is very hard for them if they don't do it regularly.

Offer advice by commending them for something that is good before going into what they are doing wrong.

Source: Gemma Gibbon, freelance child psychologist.

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