04 April 2011

Post-it Notes + analog clock = time management tool for kids

Label a clock with Post-it Notes

It's one thing to tell time, but another to understand the fluid relationship between time passing and getting stuff done. Both my kids struggle with the idea that they have to adjust what they're doing (or the speed at which they're doing it) based on how much time they have.

I've written plenty about how much we love timers. But timers only provide information about the current snatch of time (how long it is, when it's over). Clocks help kids learn about the general passage of time, and how to fit their tasks into the flow of a given day.

In our family, this skill gets pounded hardest during the get-ready-for-school routine. My daughter, who's almost finished with second grade, knows what she needs to do but still has a hard time remembering that she needs to leave time for the teeth-brushing and the backpack-wrangling in order to get to school on time. She needs to:

  • know how long these tasks take
  • know how many minutes she has left till "out the door" time
  • compare those two amounts to decide if she needs to speed up her routine

To help her with this thought process, I've added a new tool to our current time management arsenal (the written routine and the timer): the labeled analog clock. Digital clocks are fine for telling time but don't visually represent the passage of time as well the classic big-hand-little-hand clock.

Amazon: Post-it Flags I've labeled our old clock with Post-it Notes to remind her which direction is clockwise and to point out when she needs to brush teeth in order to get out the door on time. (In fact, Post-it Flags work even better, but I ran out.)

The labels are easy to move, change for different tasks, and rewrite, and they don't damage the clock. Not only does this help her see the relationship between different tasks and the passage of time, it gets her in the habit of checking the clock, not waiting for the timer (or me) to prompt her to move along. The goal is to eventually wean her off the timer as she learns to manage her own time.

You can get cheap analog clocks at places like IKEA and Target -- in fact, you've probably already got one sitting around the house. I suggest hanging them all over, especially the bathroom, the kitchen, wherever your kids usually sit to eat and/or do homework, and near TVs and computers. Being able to quickly glance at the clock makes it easier for integrate time management into everyday life.

How do you teach your kids to manage their time? Does it ever get easier?!

Related:

Three essential tools for clearing mental clutter
Help kids organize their own schedules
Create a "calendar book" to teach kids their schedules

Your comments

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Oh! Wow. What a great idea! This looks like it'd be extra helpful with a 24 hour clock with a big face, so one could label bedtime transition stuff as well.

this is such a great hack.

this is an amazing hack - i have used it for my post about the needed items for child's development (don't laugh but brooms and clocks are essential as listed in my post http://www.childwhisperer.org/blog/2011/04/07/out-with-the-new-in-with-the-old.aspx)

One thing that helped our oldest begin to understand time, was telling her how long something was compared to one of her favorite Nick Jr. programs--i.e. 15 minutes was about one episode of Wonder Pets. She didn't watch more than 1/2 hour of television per day, but as with most kids, it enthralled her, and was something she could get a handle on. When she started catching the bus for school, and needed to dress appropriately for the outside weather, we used the temperature in the refrigerator as a reference point for her to gauge how cool it would be.

I'm still far away from having kids, but this is such a great idea. A great primer on time management for kids.

We do this at our house with great success. We do it slightly differently, with a more asethetically pleasing look.

We have a cheap analog wall clock from Walmart, like one you'd hanfg on your kitchen wall. It was less than $5.00. It has a glass face. Use wipe-off markers to write the different tasks that need to be accomplished before you leave. Works great and you can add or remove things as they change.

Goodness! Goodness. What a fabulous thought! This looks such as it'd be additional supportive with a 24 hour timekeeper with a vast challenge, so one would be able to name sleepy time transition stuff also.

ohh its seem an amazin clok....................a great idea

Great stuff. I read with pleasure. Thank you for your work!

Seems to me like an excellent and perfect time tracking tools, would probably say time management tool for kids. I am sure kids would love to write and tear pages and this kinda sticky notes is their kind. But for our business, the kinda tool we use is different, its Replicon.

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