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Help Your Tween Prioritize

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Many adults have difficulty prioritizing their time, and children are no different. Learning how to prioritize takes time, and parents can play a role in helping their children develop this important skill. It's important that your tween learn how to prioritize and manage his time now, so that when he's older it will become second nature to him. The tips below will help you foster an appreciation for time management in your tween, and help him learn how to set goals, work toward them, and then move on to another.

Help Your Tween Prioritize His Time

Access Projects: The first step in learning how to prioritize is figuring how what needs to be done and when. Your tween should regularly (and with your help) access the projects that need to be completed along with deadline dates. Projects will include long-term middle school homework projects, any projects he might be working on for scouts or another activity, and projects at home. Each project should be categorized by whatever method you think will work best for your tween. You might want to break them down by difficulty (easy, hard, hardest) or by when the project is due (daily, weekly, monthly).

Break Up Big Projects: Big projects can't be finished in one day or in a few hours. These projects require consistent attention over a long period of time. An example would be working toward Eagle Scout or planning and organizing a fundraiser for your child's school. Big projects have to be broken down into digestible bites. If your tween is planning on conquering a major project, he will need to dedicate a certain amount of time to the project either daily or weekly. Have your child think about when he will turn his attention to his big project, and how that will work into his daily calendar.

Make a List: A list will help keep your tween on track of his responsibilities, and keep him motivated on his work. The list can be made daily, or weekly, depending on your child's schedule and responsibilities. Once a project is complete, he can mark it off his list and then reevaluate his other responsibilities. Keep the list somewhere where your child will see it daily as a reminder of what he needs to do.

Balance Activities: If your child is trying to stay on track of his responsibilities but is still having trouble keeping up, it might be wise to consider the possibility that he's overcommitted. Children can become so involved that they take on too much. Be honest when evaluating your child's schedule to make sure he really has the time to complete his activities and homework and to do them well. If your child is always stressed, worried or can't focus on his studies, it could be that he's over scheduled. If you think it's time to eliminate a few responsibilities from your tween's routine, sit down together to discuss and prioritize his commitments.

Set Aside Specific Times for Work: One of the best ways to stay on top of work and responsibilities is to set aside specific times to work on them. Your child may need to spend every Sunday afternoon working on whatever he needs to accomplish: chores, homework, etc. Be the guardian of your child's time, and avoid booking him into last minute activities that will take away valuable time that he needs. Instead, mark this time on your calendar so that you remember that your tween's time is as valuable as yours.

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