You do this by planning out your day, week, month, etc. In short, you develop ways to manage your time. The same holds true for your child as they strive to focus in school. Beating time takes effort. Time isn’t going to manage itself. There are strategies your child can practice to ensure that he or she uses available time in the most efficient and productive way. The result is that he or she will be able to focus in school and achieve academic success.
— Help your child carve out time during the day to study. This will be his or her “power hours.” Usually a child’s day will dictate when that time will be. Of course, they are at school much of the day. They need time to eat, sleep and take time for exercise and recreation. Keeping all this in mind, you and your child need to identify specific time periods for studying, known as “power hours.” Doing so will teach your child the value of time management and will assist your child to focus in school. This will help any student and inculcate good study skills.
— There are a lot of little gremlins that try to distract your kids from doing what they have to do. Friends call on the phone or send text messages, they urge your child to play Internet games or visit social network sites on the Internet. All distractions should be pushed aside during your child’s “power hours.” Turn off the computer, unless it is needed for studying. Turn off the mobile phone so he or she won’t be involved in phone conversations and texting. There should be absolutely no distractions during the “power hours.” You can help your child eliminate all potential distractions to help them focus.
— There is also the challenge of procrastination. Children who are confronted with a task they don’t want to do, often look for excuses not to do it. There’s a great show on television, they want to listen to the game on the radio, or he or she may just daydream. Since such excuses are ever-present you’ll need to help them avoid them and help them overcome procrastination. Starting a task usually eliminates the urge to procrastinate. In addition, breaking a large task into smaller tasks encourages a student to get started. You can establish the proper expectations so your child understands that procrastination is not acceptable. You can also reward focused behavior to foster overcoming procrastination.
— Encourage your child to start his or her “power hours” by working on the most difficult task first. Once it is done, the dread factor is gone. There is a feeling of achievement that helps them move on to the next task.
— Help your child set time limits for each task. It is said, “Work will fill all the time that is available for its completion.” This little gem is known as “Parkinson’s Law”. Your child can’t allow one task to fill all of his or her “power hours.” You can also help your child break up a large task into more manageable smaller tasks. Setting time limits helps your child to complete tasks faster and ensures that time is used more efficiently. Moreover, this study strategy will significantly help your child focus in school
— Give your child a break. No one can concentrate for one, two, or three hours without a break. To ensure that your child stays fresh and motivated have them work for 45 minutes, then take a 10-15-minute break. You may be surprised to witness how taking a break improves their productivity. This also assists in their study skills and helps them to focus in school.
— There are times when an effort no longer provides productive results, also known as the “Law of Diminishing Returns.” That’s why it is important to set time limits for tasks and to avoid wasting precious time. Re-reviewing assignments more than two times will usually fall into this category.
— Make sure that your child works on one task at a time. Multitasking will only lead to decreased focus and lower quality deliverables. It is very important to help your child create time planners such as a detailed weekly master plan, a short term monthly plan to map their major goals to activities and a high level semester plan to show what important tasks have to be achieved. They will help your child focus in school and improve your communication with your child. A weekly master plan can help to carve out “Power Hours” during which your child can study and perform all the academic tasks that aid them in achieving their SMART goals. This weekly plan also helps to create order out of chaos so that your child can manage what he needs to do to focus in school and achieve academic success.
Here are 10 tips to create a weekly master plan, a monthly plan and a semester plan.
— Help your child schedule time to study during the day. This is his or her “Power Hours.” Schedule these “Power Hours” when your child is very alert and physically at their best. It should not be a time when they are sleepy or tired after a soccer game.
— Set time limits for your child’s Important tasks. These are the tasks that have already been prioritized based on the Important Urgent Quadrant (refer to Part 2 of this article series).
— Help your child identify essential activities that are not a part of his or her school time. These would be things like sleeping, eating, personal hygiene, etc. Schedule time in the weekly plan for all these activities and set your child up for success.
— Schedule all Important tasks along with the essential activities together in the week. These should be clearly listed in the weekly plan with start and end times.
— Plan for the unexpected. Include one hour a day in the weekly schedule for unexpected tasks.
— Reward and Relaxation. In the time that is left over in the schedule, plan time for relaxing and/or rewarding activities.
— Use the plan as a guide for the first week. Using it will provide you with the feedback so you can make any changes that become necessary for future weeks.
Next, create a short-term monthly plan
— Help your child outline the major tasks and activities that need to be completed in the month. Schedule into account the time necessary for social activities. This calendar becomes your child’s “Month at a Glance” plan. It also helps your child focus in school by identifying the activities important for them.
Finally, create a semester plan
— Help your child outline all the major tasks and activities that need to be completed during the semester. The plan should concentrate on your child’s academic activities but should also take into account the time necessary to participate in social events. This is a high level plan that outlines a success blueprint for both you and your child. This will enable your child to know what he or she needs to focus on each week, month, as well as academic semester. This will assist him or her to achieve the SMART goals that you collectively have set (refer to Part 1 of this article series).
Practicing these time management skills will give order to the daily commotion and put your child on the path to properly focus in school, improve her study skills and achieve academic success. Learning these time management skills will continue to help your child throughout their life.