Six Ways Parents Can Help Children Master the Task of PrioritizationBy Huntington Learning Center
As every parent knows, time management is an essential aptitude that students must have to be successful. At the core of good time management skills, however, is the ability to prioritize: to rank tasks from most to least important. Children who are capable of prioritizing their to-dos are at an advantage in several important ways:
- They make the most of their time.
- They have greater control over their schedules.
- They tend to be less stressed.
- They tend to have more free time (due to minimized procrastination).
Parents: if you want to help your children become better managers of their time, teach them how to prioritize their school work and incorporate this practice into their daily routine. Here are six ways to do just that:
- Start with the “big picture.” Your child should have a master to-do list with everything on it that he or she is responsible for. This should include immediate tasks as well as those that are on the horizon (a week or a month out).
- Divide things up. Armed with the master list, have your child divide homework assignments into three groups: things due tomorrow, things due this week, things due next week or beyond.
- Create the high-priority to-do list for the night. The first list—things due tomorrow—is where your child should focus his or her attention at homework time each night. Before getting started, children should rank everything they have to do for tomorrow from most to least important. Order of importance might be subjective, but it could be based on how early in the day the subject/class falls and whether there’s an opportunity to do any work in a study hall or free period before it.
- Rank items from hardest to easiest. The top priority items are all important, so for some children, it’s easiest to think about what homework requires the most effort and time. That refined nightly to-do list might look like this:
Math - p. 10-11 Most important (1st period) Hard 40 minutes English - edit essay Equally important (2nd period) Easy 30 minutes Social Studies -read Important, could be done tomorrow Medium hard 30 minutes
- Consider study preferences. Does your child like to work on the hardest homework first, or would checking off some of the less difficult assignments give a sense of accomplishment? Only your child can decide what works best for his or her brain. It might take a little trial and error to figure out those study preferences, but don’t worry. The more your child does this, the easier (and faster) this decision-making process will become.
- Develop a plan for the bigger projects. While the above strategy works well for daily assignments, for more intensive projects, it’s a good idea to create a “workback” schedule to keep your child on track and focused on any deadlines. A project due February 1 might seem far away, but a detailed schedule might show your child that there are actually tasks he or she could start doing much sooner. Consider this example schedule for an English paper:
Choose topic January 2 Research compiled January 5 Create outline January 8 Finish any additional research January 10 First draft January 13 Review and revise January 15 Second draft January 17 Have parent/peer review/edit January 18 Revise, third draft January 20 Get teacher feedback January 21 Revise January 23 Final edits January 25 Fourth draft January 27 Final review and proof January 28 Submit January 29
Don’t we all want to make homework time less stressful and more efficient? The simple task of prioritization helps children establish effective working habits for any homework that comes their way. Rather than waste time fretting about how much is on the plate and procrastinating, a child who is adept at prioritizing will quickly assess what he or she has to do and dive right in.
If your child struggles with time management and your efforts to set him or her on a positive path aren’t working, call Huntington. We can help your child get into a good routine and boost his or her confidence. Call us at 1-800-CAN LEARN today.
Huntington is the tutoring and test prep leader. Its certified tutors provide individualized instruction in reading, phonics, writing, study skills, elementary and middle school math, Algebra through Calculus, Chemistry, and other sciences. It preps for the SAT and ACT, as well as state and standardized exams. Huntington programs develop the skills, confidence, and motivation to help students succeed and meet the needs of Common Core State Standards. Founded in 1977, Huntington’s mission is to give every student the best education possible. Learn how Huntington can help at www.huntingtonhelps.com. For franchise opportunities please visit www.huntingtonfranchise.com.
©2018 Huntington Mark, LLC. Huntington Learning Center®, the three-leaf logo, and 1 800 CAN LEARN® are registered trademarks of Huntington Mark, LLC. Each franchised Huntington Learning Center is operated under a franchise agreement with Huntington Learning Centers, Inc.
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