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Improving Time Management Skills

teacher_experts.gifQUESTION:

Our oldest is an 11th grader who ranks third in the class of 650. Yes he does well. However his study habits and time management skills seem terrible! He starts his homework - say - 9p.m. or later and stays up late!! He rarely forgets assignments and he does get up, ready for school, with my calling him two-three times. How can we help him to understand the need to write down assignments and prioritize as well as get enough sleep since he is still successful despite his rotten work habits? College will be a new dawn!!!

ANSWER:

High school is a dress rehearsal for college. The better your son has handled all facets of this experience, the more prepared he will be for college. Point out to him that a successful college experience will depend on more than his terrific academic skills. He will be faced with dividing his time between classwork, extracurricular activities, social demands, and possibly a job. Talking to a college student now about the importance of time management skills could be more effective than anything you will say.

The first step in improving your son's time management skills is to give him an alarm clock and the responsibility for getting himself up in the morning. It wouldn't hurt to mention that when he gets to college, his roommates are not going to make sure that he gets to class on time as you have been doing.

Everyone has an optimum time for learning. Possibly, your son is a night owl; however, more likely he is just putting off doing his work. If this habit continues in college, it could put him into situations where he waits until too late to start studying for tests. One of the easiest ways to nip this habit in the bud is to agree with him on a time when his homework must be completed each evening. Once that time comes, all schoolbooks and homework must be put away whether or not he has finished. This will teach him how to manage his homework time instead of wasting it as you feel he has been doing. As far as prioritizing his work, you might suggest that he begin with the most difficult or least appealing assignment, so he can look forward to doing more enjoyable work. Also, ask him to use a datebook to list assignments for a month to see if this isn't a more efficient way to remember them. While it's important to talk to your son about managing his time, don't forget to pat him on the back for his good habits like bringing his homework home and rarely forgetting an assignment.

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