Questions and Answers

Q: My fifth-grade daughter is late for everything. She turns homework in late. She starts projects at the last minute. How can I help her break this self-sabotaging habit?

A: Unfortunately, time management doesn’t come naturally to elementary schoolers. Instead, parents must teach them how to plan ahead. 

Show your daughter how to:

  • Get organized. Encourage her to keep her backpack, room and study area neat. A child who can’t organize her belongings is likely to have trouble organizing her thoughts and actions as well.
  • Prioritize. Help your child list everything she has to do under one of three headings: “Must Do,” “Would Be Nice to Do” and “Can Skip This.” Remind her that items on the must-do list (like homework) have to come first.
  • Make a schedule. After your child sets her priorities, help her figure out when she can actually do those “must-dos.” That’s where a schedule comes in. Some kids can draw up a schedule for the whole week and stick to it. Others need to make a schedule every day to keep on track.
  • Stick to the schedule. This may be the hardest step of all. Few children want to spend a sunny day doing research for an upcoming paper when five of their friends are planning to go on a long afternoon bike ride. Encourage and praise your child for staying on track. And don’t forget to leave some time in the schedule for fun!

Find more great articles in the March 2022 issue of Parents Make the Difference!® newsletter.

Reprinted with permission from the March 2022 issue of Parents make the difference!®  (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2022 The Parent Institute®, a division of PaperClip Media, Inc.