Y’all. I’ve got to tell you. I love my kids. I think they are the coolest, most amazing kids ever. This is how moms are supposed to be, right? We all think this about our kids which I think is so amazing about mothers and motherhood. We all have these rose-colored kid glasses on and we think our kids are great and we know that our kids can do anything they want. This is how love should be. This is what love looks like.
I say all of this in the midst of the early morning while they both are snoozing upstairs. Yesterday was a peaceful day of laundry (on my part) and playing (on their part) and we all ended the day being snuggly and wonderfully happy. Summer days are wonderful for this kind of relaxation in schedule and in losing track of time.
Not all days are like this. So many days are hard and painful. Difficult and stupid. Those are the days when things do not go as planned and when all of our expectations are not met.
As I have done this for years now, the ebb and flow of life itself, I have taken the time to step back and evaluate what makes the bad days bad in an effort to correct and tweak. Any corrections can make bad days better. That is what life is about.
One of the biggest things that I have discovered makes our bad days horrible is a lack of time management. We are all given the same amount of time in each day and no matter what we do, there is no way to obtain more time. There is no rollover plan. We can’t take hours from a lazy day and use them on a day when things are hectic and crazy. It doesn’t work that way. The only thing we can do is to figure out how to manage our time to make the most out of our days and to get the most done or to do our best with the time that we have.
We all have different ways that we manage our time. I know that I am obsessed with my planner and am even more so when times are hectic. However, not everyone works that way.
Emma tends to have a lot of the same brain wiring as I do. Some things are different though. For Calvin, things are a lot different than me. Which isn’t a bad thing but for me I have to work actively to come up with things to try to help him manage his time better. Some things work well and others do not. Like life, it is all trial and error. Thankfully after being a mom for 13 years I’ve figured out some things that work.
5 minutes, 3 minutes, 1 minute remaining
Since my kids were little I’ve done this. I’ve noticed as they have aged they’ve been able to start doing feeling this on their own. When I tell them 5 minutes are remaining they can pretty well gauge when that time is up. When I tell them one minute is left they can feel when they need to be done with their time and move on.
Especially when the kids were younger and couldn’t tell time very well (or at all!) we used this all of the time. Now we enjoy using it for things like piano practice and other things that they may not particularly enjoy doing every time and therefore the time seems to forever drag on. I enjoy that there is a feature for the light to turn to from green to yellow to red so there is a middle time and they can kind of gauge their time remaining using those.
Magic Toothbrush App
So this is of course for teeth brushing only but we like it to manage time spent on teeth brushing. This is an app where you push the go button and a toothbrush starts to clean foam from the screen to reveal a picture. Where the brush on the screen is brushing shows you were you should be brushing in your mouth. We love it! I love that I can know my kids are spending enough time brushing their teeth when they use it rather than 22 seconds and then they try to be done.
This one is only for Emma…so far. I might try to get Calvin on the planner train but right now I think it would be more work than it would be helpful.
Emma on the other hand LOVES her planner. I surprised her when June camps were over with a new student Happy Planner. She uses it all of the time. It is a fun thing that her and I do together. We like to sit down and put stickers in our books and think of all of the ways to decorate. It’s an outlet for our creativity and it forces us to think of what is coming up in the upcoming days and to really focus and plan for things. It also has helped us to live intentionally through our life which I love. For time management it has helped her because she writes down all of her homework and activities to do and can visually see what all she needs to get done. It has helped her to not put things off until later that night and then forget she had plans and become frustrated.
Emma struggles with ADHD. With girls it is sometimes so hard to discern. With Emma her struggle with time management manifests itself in her becoming so, so frustrated with herself. It is hard to watch her beat herself up about missing deadlines or over committing herself to projects. The planner has really helped her and has helped me to aide her.
Just a classic timer has helped us so much. Before things could take the kids forever. Now I will put a timer on for, say 30 minutes, and whatever math they get done in that time is what we get done. If I feel they didn’t put much effort into their work then I will start doling out homework but for the most part they work hard and stay diligent in their tasks. This gives them the peace of mind to only have to do math for 30 minutes and doesn’t make them frustrated when math takes them 2 hours and they still have a whole day of work to do.
We purchased one of these for Emma for Christmas. She had been begging for one.
We finally caved and I must say that we have been really happy with it. It has a stop watch feature and a timer She uses the time feature all of the time and I love that is has an alarm.
We will have her set it when they have electronic time so they know when their time is up. For her classes in homeschooling I will give her an amount of time to work on something and she sets the timer.
It also has reminders for chores and other things which helps her to keep on task and to remember what she needs to be doing.
So those are the things that our family uses to help us stay on task and help our kids with time management. Who am I kidding? And us! I use the cell phone timer ALL of the time!
If you have pointers or tips for things that help your family manage time better, please let me know! I am always looking for things that will help us to live more intentionally and use our time the best we can!