Teaching Your Child Time-Management Skills
Prioritizing is a basic time-management skill. A good time to help your child learn is when helping her decide on the order for doing homework assignments. Some students prefer to do the easiest ones first, because it boosts their confidence. Others prefer to tackle the harder items first because they are fresher, and they can relax once those are finished. Or use “chaining,” a behavior therapy technique where your child does the task she likes least first, then rewards herself for doing that task by doing something she enjoys more next. An assignment your child enjoys can be started after she completes one she does not enjoy. This motivates your child to get through the first assignment.
Children diagnosed with ADHD tend to be remarkably unaware of the passage of time. As a consequence, they commonly misjudge how much time is required to complete routine tasks. A common pattern is to underestimate how long it will take them to get ready to go somewhere or do a chore, and to exaggerate the amount of time they spend on activities they dislike.
Help your child list the tasks and put them in order before she sets out to do any project that has given her difficulty in the past. Consider making and posting lists in convenient locations to guide her through washing the dishes, straightening her room, and packing her book bag. Children with poor memories for such details should use as many aids as possible. After referring to their lists and checking off each completed task and step over a period of weeks, months, or years, they will undoubtedly memorize the procedure.
Dealing with Deadlines
To learn to cope with deadlines, youngsters need to be able to judge how much time various projects will take and set up schedules matched to their capabilities and, whenever possible, their desires.
The first step is to collect lots of data about how long it takes them to do all kinds of routine tasks: taking a bath, completing a set of math problems, gathering their things together for baseball practice, walking home from a friend's house, and so on. That information will eventually enable them to make realistic estimates about how much time they need to allow themselves for various tasks.