October 04, 2007

Help Your Children to be Effective at Studying (Part 2)

Time Management and Day Planning

"Time is the great equalizer of all mankind!" A rich man cannot buy more, a smart man cannot invent more and a fool cannot waste more… we are all given the same allotment of time each day; 24 hours! The people who learn to use their allotment of time wisely are the ones who get ahead.

A Good Book

Teach you children how to manage time effectively. There are some great books on the subject written by some of the world’s great thinkers. One of the best is Stephen Covey’s book titled “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. Get a copy and read it with your children. Covey lays out proven methods for effective managing time. You can give your children few greater gifts than the gift of effective time management.

Using Technology Wisely

In my last article on study habits I laid out a plan for using modern technology to take control of the television in your family. I laid out a plan so that you could effectively control the time that your family spends watching television. In this article I will suggest that you also use modern electronic technology in the process of teaching your children to manage time.

Computers are amazing tools for managing time… IF… they are effectively and purposefully used. Over 80% of American homes have computers and almost every computer has some kind of calendar/day planner program already on it. Teach your children how to use that program; teach how to enter assignments and upcoming deadlines on their computer calendar. Teach them how to set the program up to give warnings a week or two before big school projects are due so that they develop the habit of working on projects well ahead of deadlines.

Plan Activities and Events

Teach your children to put their activities and school events onto their calendar so that they can budget the time for those activities. I would also suggest that you have a “master calendar” on your computer for your whole family to use. That way the whole family can coordinate their activities, assignments, and duties effectively.

Next, I would advise parents to look into small handheld electronic day planners. They have lots of names like Palm Pilots and Pocket PCs, etc. Many cell phones have calendars and day planners built right into them. These devices sync with computer day planners and calendars so that your children can carry their schedule of assignments and activities right with them. My strong recommendation is to NOT run away from technology; rather, I strongly advise you to embrace technology and teach your children to use it effectively. They are born into the technological age. Teach them to live in that world and teach them to use the technology as effectively as possible.

Cell Phones

Cell phones are a real stumbling block for many parents. Kids want to have them and many parents balk at getting them for their children. I understand the hesitance of many parents in not wanting their children to have cell phones but to me the big issue is not whether children should have cell phones; the real issue seems to be teaching children to use the technology sanely, effectively, and ethically. Strict guidelines can be put in place and the technology of the cell phone can become a wonderful tool for teaching responsibility to your children.

It is my observation that most people who use cell phones in today’s world could use some guidance and help in knowing when and where to use cell phones! Your children are growing up in a world where everyone is going to have cell phones. About the only way to prevent your children from eventually having a cell phone might be to move to some third world country where there simply is no such technology.

A wiser tack seems to be to teach your children how to use the technology effectively. Now, do not misinterpret me here. I am not saying that every parent should run right out and get their children a cell phone. However it might be reasonable to get one for all of your children to share. Then teach them to turn the thing off in most situations. Teach them to use the many other features of the phone like the day planner and the calendar.

Teach them the dangers in use of text messaging and e-mail. Guide them to observe safety in the use of cell phones by modeling for them that it is unsafe to use them while driving and rude to use them in public places. Let them watch you turn your phone off before entering public places like theaters and restaurants.

The bottom line here is that it is your responsibility as a parent to teach your children to live effectively in the world that they are growing up in. Teaching effective study habits ought to embrace that concept. Teach children to become effective and responsible students who manage heir time with a purpose.


Anonymous said...

Well said.

okjunga said...

Our family started using Google Calendar. It is a wonderful tool that allows each family member to have their own calendar and share them with other members of the family. Each person can see everyone else's schedule and since it is web-based, you can access it from any computer on the Internet(home/work/school).

We print off the master calendar weekly and post it by the back door so everyone can see it when they leave for the day.

christine said...

Great cell phone advice! I wish more adults would follow these guidelines!

Mac said...

Dear Christine,

It is one thing to "wish more adults would follow these guidelines" and an entirely different thing to act in an attempt to change the actions of others! Now, I am not even remotely suggesting that you attempt to change the world or even your whole community. What I AM suggesting is that you make an attempt to change some of the people who have an influence on your children!

What I am suggesting is that you start a class using our DVD Parenting with Dignity Curriculum. Hold a class for the parents of the kids that your children play with and go to school with. This is not a difficult concept to grasp; it is just much easier to teach behaviors to your children if some of the other children that your kids spend time with are being taught the same thing!

If you think that you are interested please go to our www.parentingwithdignity.com website and read lesson #10 in our Facilitator's Manual, Here is a link to it: http://parentingwithdignity.com/PWD/video_series/tape10f.htm

That handout will give you lots of helpful hints about forming and running a PwD class. Then get roll up your sleves and started! Hundreds of thousands of other families communities all across America have done so with huge success.

Good luck!


Mac Bledsoe
Author of Parenting with Dignity