Teaching Time Management Skills to Your School-Aged Children

As a child, did you stop and think about time?  Probably not much, except when the time to play would wind down or it was getting close to bedtime. What did you do most of the time—lay in bed, watch TV programs for so many hours, or play video games? The older you get, you start remembering the things that you have  or have not accomplished.

One of our most priceless resources is Time. It is something that you can no longer reclaim, once you lose it. You should make use of your time intelligently. Why?  For your growth and improvement as a person. Time well spent is precious. That’s why you need time management.

Do you stop to consider that time management should be a basic skill for your school-aged children? Finishing assignments from school can be an obstacle for them. Time management can be a problem for your children. They should be taught to manage their schedules properly. They are expected to attend their classes, complete their homework, meet social obligations with their peers and participate in other extracurricular activities. They should eliminate as many distractions and interruptions as possible to complete assignments in order to accomplish their academic obligations.  

You will decide what age you feel your children are mature enough to be taught time management skills. Don’t make them feel bad about not having good time management skills when it comes to academic endeavors.  It is not the end of the world!  The majority of adults have the same problems on how to manage their time. There’s always room for improvement for all of us. Your children need somebody to teach and guide them. What is necessary is to re-evaluate how you have been managing your daily activities and to modify them when necessary. Then help your children do the same.

Few people master the skill of time management. However, it a general need for everyone, especially if you are aspiring to achieve something in school, work and other personal endeavors.

A Simple Time Management Concept to Teach Your Children:

  1. Have them to list and compare all the activities they would like to achieve now.
  2. Ask them to decide how they will be affected by their choices later on in life.
  3. After listing all the things they are supposed to do every day, have them order their priorities.
  4. Help them create a planner for their schedules.
  5. Teach them that adjustments can be made in their schedules when necessary.
  6. They should allocate time for relaxation and entertainment.
  7. Tell them that whatever plan they have formulated, they will enjoy every moment of their lives if they manage time well.

My mother and my Sunday School teacher taught me that there’s a time and a place for everything! Did your parenting adult or someone else teach you time management skills when you were younger?   Send me your comments. I’d love to hear from you!

The Animal House Series, Article 3 – The Elephants in the Room

Article 3 in a Series of 3

When my daughter visited me after I moved to Washington, DC, she looked around the living room and stated, “You have a lot of stuff but it’s organized.  It’s not cluttered like some grandma’s houses.”  Recently my teenage grandson visited and asked, “What’s up with the tea pots?”  Those comments made me take a different look at ‘knick knacks’ and collectibles I had everywhere in my home.  Although I don’t have a collection of porcelain elephants taking over my home, I asked myself, “How does one start collecting things?”  For me, a few mementos are of sentimental value, such as the homemade cookbooks and Christmas ornaments made by my daughters when they were in preschool and elementary school. The teapot collection started when I found what I thought was a collectible teapot worth a lot of money at a yard sale.  That collection grew into about 20 teapots. When I moved back to Nashville and had to downsize my home, I took most of them to a local charity thrift store and kept those that I liked best, still enough for my grandson to notice.

Purging my collectibles, including my scrapbook paper collection, books, magazines, CDs, videos and decorative accessory objects has pained me greatly at times. However, when I do edit mementos and collectibles, my home looks less cluttered and my mind is uncluttered also.  I’m more productive and focused. I still have “stuff” but it looks good since there’s less stuff.  I’ve found great containers and organizing products. There are places your eyes can rest without seeing so much “stuff.”  My knick knacks are arranged by category or color. I wish I could showcase my grandmother’s china collection which is stored away in my buffet, but I’m afraid my daughter will steal it piece by piece. She’s still upset it was passed down to me instead of her and brings up the subject every chance she gets. LOL!

A few “do’s and don’ts” for a few collectibles:

Do find a way to show or secure your collectibles without taking up an excess amount of space in your home. Organization will be simpler for you and you’ll find you can put things almost anywhere if you find great organizing or display products. Be creative. For example, that vintage jewelry collection can be displayed in a shadow box and hung on a wall.

Don’t try to showcase all your collectibles in one space, especially if you live in a small space. This will appear as clutter. Try rotating items periodically. This will also help freshen up your home design.

Do purge books, magazines, CDs or videos if they’re out of date or you don’t enjoy them any longer. Share by donating to the local library, senior citizens centers, schools or hospitals.  Think tax deduction or the ‘I’m a good person feeling’ you get when you share!

Don’t put collectibles in an area that they don’t belong.  Put them where they’re purposeful. The porcelain elephant collection may look great in the kitchen but putting it in a curio cabinet in the living room would showcase it better.

The Animal Series, Article 2 – Is Your Mustang in Your Garage?

Article 2 in a Series of 3

I’ve watched a few episodes of ” Two Broke Girls” on CBS.  When Caroline (the newest broke girl) moved into Max’s (the already broke girl) apartment, she brought along few possessions from her former rich lifestyle. Her most cherished possession, however, was a horse that they put in the backyard since they obviously coul not put it in the small apartment. I found it hilarious that they thought they would be able to keep the horse in the backyard and eventually, with winter approaching, they had to move it to a stable that would, of course, be an extra expense to them.

I’ve never seen a horse in anyone’s garage, yet. However, we acquire so much stuff, I’m wondering if someone does have a horse in their garage. If you know someone who does, let me know. Our original intent of having a garage is to keep our cars in it.   When other stuff starts piling up, where do we put our cars?  Outside! This can become an extra expense because your car can obtain weather related damage.

Some of you may want your garage to serve as a multi-purpose space. A garage and a workshop or a garage and storage area are two examples. Whatever your space needs are, here are a few simple organizing tips to making your garage a functional space:

1. Develop a plan for how you want the garage to function.

2. Clean out the space completely and make repairs where needed.

3. Sort items. Items that are no longer useful or important that don’t need repair, give away or sell.  Discard junk that cannot be repaired. These are usually the things that take up most space in the garage.

4. Everything that you plan on putting back into the space, sort into categories, such as sporting equipment, tools, chemicals and paints, seasonal items, etc..

5. Items such as rakes, shovels, lawn chairs, bikes, and sleds can be hung on the wall with large, sturdy hooks. You can purchase garages at hardware stores such as Ace Hardware.

6. Invest in some type of cabinetry or shelving units to store items that cannot be hung on the walls.

7. Be safety concious. Store chemicals and paints in their original containers in locked cabinets. Keep a fire extinguisher rated “ABC” (effective for all types of fires) in the garage.

Clutter is all about delaying making decisions. So if you haven’t decided what to do with the “horse” you’ve kept in the garage, make the decision to get out it right now, especially since spring is just around the corner.

The Animal House Series, Article 1 – What’s Hogging Your Closet?

 Article 1 in a Series of 3

(Are those…   canned goods…  in your closet?!!!)

    After leaving my job in Washington, DC, I returned home to stay with my Mom until I could find a place to live in Nashville, TN. With time on my hand, I did the thing that was most natural for me. I found tasks to keep me busy and to “earn my keep” while my Mom was at work. Although semi-retired, she still runs her own housecleaning business.

I opened my Mom’s clothing closet, and not to my surprise, I found stockpiled can goods and staples. I wasn’t surprised because my Mom is from the Depression era and she always stockpiled food during my childhood.

After sorting the food items, I put quite a few rusted, expired cans and a couple of old bags of rice and macaroni in a  box and placed them on her back porch  (to assure her they were expired before I threw them away). I then organized her kitchen cabinets placing the food items from her closet into them. When she came home, I showed her my work. She politely said she knew she probably had a lot of expired food, that some had been given to her and some she just forgot about.  She wasn’t quite sure if she liked the newly arranged cabinets but thought she could live with the change. However, I think she wanted permission from someone else that it was okay to let go of some things people give you.

Change doesn’t come easy for many of us. Lesson learned for me–always ask before proceeding to make changes to someone’s home, even if I do have good intentions and even if it is my own mother!  Let me assure you, as a professional organizer, I will work with you and will never intrude into your space to discard anything or make any changes without your permission. I hope she’ll let me organize that closet soon.

We all know that food products have an expiration date. However, if we’re keeping food in our closets, or places other than our pantries, and don’t use before expiration, we’re wasting money, space, and  a possible health risk if we eat expired food, according to WebMD. You can get more information on food product dating from USDA Fact Sheets: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Factsheets/Food_Product_dating/index.asp. Whether we stockpile food because we grew up in a less prosperous time, or because we feel obligated to keep what others have given us, letting go or using food items before expiration can be a weight off our shoulders. In fact, it may feel a bit like hog heaven!

Click here to download a free printable Grocery List!