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Teenagers today are busier than ever; school, part-time job, sports, clubs, church group, friends, and let’s not forget… device time. This lifestyle creates a hectic and busy day with no time to waste.

Here are 4 simple tips to help your kids become more conscientious of time and make the most of their day:

1.) Develop time awareness. Digital clocks are the norm today, however, they only show time in the present moment.  Analog clocks help create time awareness by seeing time move which can improve the understanding of how long it takes to complete a task. I highly recommend using analog clocks in as many rooms in your house as possible, especially the bathroom! Your teen can learn more about where they spend time using my free Time Map chart. 

2.) Limit device time.  It’s essential to help our kids understand the negative impact of devices and how to set boundaries so they can manage it when they are on their own. Research shows device distraction interrupts our work flow, lengthens the time to complete a task and increases the chance of mistakes by 50%. Improve work efficiency by simply removing those distractions temporarily. (John Medina, Brain Rules)

Your teen will get more done in small blocks of uninterrupted time rather than trying to answer every ring, ping or ding while working. I suggest using a timer set for 30-60 minutes and turn off notifications on all devices and do your work.  When the time is up, take a 5-minute break and repeat.

3.) Use a Planner /Calendar Use of a planner or calendar is a fundamental skill that begins now and continues through life. Encourage your teen to schedule after-school activities such as music lessons, games, scout meetings etc.  along with their daily assignments and exam dates.  Regular use of a planner creates a schedule with structure and provides an opportunity to prepare and plan for the future whether it’s for tomorrow, next week or next month.

4) Learn to say no. We may want to do it all but with only 24 hours in a day it’s not always in our best interest to do so.  When your teen is faced with the choice to accept new responsibilities, guide them through the decision-making process. Questions for them to consider…. Do I really need to do this? Am I passionate about this project? What disadvantages will I face if I accept this responsibility? Is there some other responsibility I should relinquish in order to take on this new responsibility?

In the words of Miles Davis:  Time isn’t the main thing. It’s the only thing.

Wishing all kids and teachers a great school year ahead.