As our girls get older and start to become more involved with school activities, sports, get more homework and want to try more new things; we start to see how important time management skills are even at an early age.
This term, our daughters' interest and enthusiasm for swimming has increased, and with that the number of days they want to go to training lessons after school.
The better they are getting in their swimming, the longer the training sessions are. Now they go 3 or 4 times a week. By the time we get home afterwards, there's time for showers, dinner, a little relaxing family time and a little reading before sleeping. Homework is being done at the weekend where possible.
Next term, they want to add one day of gymnastics to the mix. Now we're all for trying new things - sports are great, a good healthy thing to be spending their time doing. However, the girls are going to have to learn to manage their time to be able to fit in everything they want to do. Until now, we have limited the number of after school activity days they could have, but now have decided to let them try more and see what they can manage.
We've started with the homework - trying to get them to just sit down and do it instead of getting distracted, going to and from it, doing a bit here and there, and it ending up taking all of Saturday, or alternatively spread over the whole week. Getting them to sit in separate rooms is helping. Although they share a bedroom, we have set them up a desk each in separate rooms so they have their own place to focus and concentrate on things. They are beginning to see that their homework can be done in a relatively short time, when they knuckle down and just do it.
When I was a kid, I did a lot of gymnastics, spending several days a week training. I remember having limited time to do my homework in - between school and training sessions, but I always got it done, and it was never a big deal. After I stopped gymnastics, that is when I remember my homework taking a LONG time. Simply because I had nothing else to fill my time. I do believe that:
'Work expands to fill the time available'
Or in other words - if you have just 1 hour to do your homework in, then it will take 1 hour. If you have 5 hours, it will take 5 hours!
As our girls are so focussed on swimming just now, we look at those kids at school who are the next level up, and see how much more training they are doing. We also know that the homework load is also going to increase as they get older too.
So many students manage to fit in sports, activities and homework. We want our kids to be able to fit everything in that they want to do. They need to learn the skills themselves, and judge when something becomes too much or when they can or can't add in extra activities.
How do you help your kids manage their time? Do you do it for them, and limit the after school activities they do? Do you give them set times to sit down and do their homework? At what age do you think they are capable of figuring this out for themselves and making their own schedule or routine?
I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences.