A Balancing Act: Time Management for Teens
Beginning in high school and continuing throughout adulthood, your teen will need to juggle many responsibilities. Time management will help him to be more effective in achieving his goals, to improve performance in academics and activities, and to move from the structured environment of home to one where he will have to manage a variety of schedules and commitments. Learning this skill will also reduce anxiety and build confidence to meet deadlines as your teen looks forward to graduation and beyond. Here are a few tips to help you and your teen manage the school year in a more organized and less stressful way.
YOUR TEEN WILL
NEED TO JUGGLE
Helpful Time Management Tools
Create a task list. The first step is to list the jobs, projects, and activities your teen wishes to accomplish along with his academics. The next step is to prioritize these items in order of importance. Your teen will then need to spend time planning and preparing to reach these goals, as well as learning to be efficient and proactive. Businessman and former Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca once said, “If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got.”
After a task is completed, your high schooler will have the satisfaction of crossing it off the list which, in turn, will motivate her to go to the next item. If this list looks overwhelming to your child, help her examine her schedule in order to identify changes that will make more efficient use of her time. Also, point out that this list is meant to be a tool—not a source of stress. The list can always be altered if circumstances demand it.
The next useful tool will be a method for tracking activities and providing reminders. Some people use a calendar, while others use such devices as a PDA. Still others simply compile a list and keep it in a prominent place. Again, your teen should use the method that works best for him.
The last tool will be you, the parents. Your role will be to encourage your young adult, help implement these time management skills, and then be her cheerleader. Remember, time management takes practice. It’s not learned in one day or in one year, but is a skill worth developing over the four years of high school. Encourage your student to pray and to seek the Lord’s wisdom in both daily and long-term planning. Proverbs 16:1 says, “The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.” (NASB)
Here for You
HSLDA members may contact our high school coordinators, Becky Cooke and Diane Kummer, for advice on teaching teens. Call 540-338-5600 or visit www.hslda.org/contactstaff.
Check out www.hslda.org/highschool for more helpful information on teaching teens.
For extra suggestions and help, we have some resources for both you and your teen on our Homeschooling Thru High School website.
Application of the Skill
Now that you have a direction to go in teaching time management, let’s consider ways to balance out the academics with the extras. As you and your teen are looking at his extracurricular activities along with scheduling time for his friends, a job, sports, or chores, be sure to take into consideration the rest of the family’s commitments. The need for transportation to each of these functions will factor into your decision-making and planning. It may necessitate limiting activities in order to accommodate both your high schooler’s and his siblings’ desires for extracurricular activities. Another option is to challenge your teen to find the transportation he’ll need for an activity that will not fit into your schedule.
In families with multiple children, consider having several of the children participate in the same activity/sport in order to cut down on the number of activities. For instance, if more than one of your children is taking music lessons on the same instrument, try to schedule back-to-back lessons to minimize your driving time. The child waiting for the lesson could complete some school assignments. Or, during each season, have just one child choose an activity, with the rest of the family becoming cheerleaders for him, and then allow a different child to enjoy the limelight during the next season.
Help your high schooler to choose those activities which will enhance his interests, abilities, and future goals. This is a mark of good time management because he is “killing two birds with one stone”—doing what he enjoys while gaining additional knowledge.
We all have the same number of hours in a day but different levels of energy, so do not overcommit to outside activities. Remember to schedule time for the family and your teen to relax together while having fun. Also be careful your high schooler is not involved in so many extracurricular activities that his academic achievements begin to suffer due to lack of time and energy. Adequate time to sleep, eat, read and study the word, and enjoy some downtime is necessary—so remind your teen to leave room in his day to rejuvenate his body and soul.
Good time management skills will help your home and school to run more smoothly and will lessen the stress of meeting everyone's expectations. If time management has not been one of your own strengths, be encouraged that the Lord is your helper, and He is able to provide you with all you need to better manage the hours in each day. Regularly pray each morning and ask the Lord to direct your steps (and your teen’s), and then rest in knowing the Lord delights to be involved in every aspect of your day.
|About the authors
Becky Cooke and Diane Kummer are HSLDA’s high school coordinators.