It’s a fact: we live in a hurried world. As more conveniences enter our lives, we are expected to fill each moment with more. More activities for the kids, more errands, more chores, more of everything. Beyond how emotionally draining it can be to always work off the never ending task list, we as mothers bring our kids along for the ride. Different kids personalities and time management don’t always mix well. While we can never have a guarantee of children that immediately follow instructions to get ready, or transition well, working with them, and their unique personality affords better time management than expecting a young child to succumb to your demands, no matter how they are presented.
Learn about your child
First things first – What are some of the core characteristics of your child’s personality? What motivates them and un-motivates them? There are numerous personality tests available online, but for the purpose of identifying what category your child fits in below, it likely just takes some observation.
Their mix of personality and time management needed in your life will determine how to tackle your tasks for the day. Are they easily overwhelmed? Do they have a hard time with transition? Do they tend to shut down when hurried? Knowing yourself and how you personally respond to typical time management techniques will give insight to where you are the same and how you differ with your child. Also, remember that children go through various phases in their life and may not always respond to the same things they did in years past. Check back on how well you understand their personality fairly often, both for your sake and theirs.
If your life looks anything like mine, it seems we are almost always moving from one place to another. I’ve learned that after 2:30, my 4 yr old doesn’t transition well. She really needs some down time, and the afternoon is the time of day she exhibits that the most.
Some children always struggle with transition, and the parent needs to give ample warning, and usually a description of what is going to happen next. And still other children do best when they know what their whole day will look like before they finish breakfast. It can be frustrating for the parent when they need to get to their next destination and their child is fighting it, but one thing I’ve found helpful is putting myself in their shoes. What would it feel like to be carted around all day, with little to no control over where you go and when? Honestly, I might be pretty crabby if that was me. A little empathy goes a long way!
It takes 10 minutes to get shoes on, then another 20 to get a jacket, gloves and hat. All the while we wonder how in the world it could take so long? Some kids just aren’t in a hurry, ever. Whether they grow out of it and have great time management later, I’m not sure. What I do know is there needs to be systems in place to get them started early. Make sure their jacket is on a hook they can reach, and the hat and gloves are within their reach as well. They can get started with these things before their other family members. As the parent, we need to keep track of the time and start initiating the process early enough. For most families with two young children, it can easily take an hour to pack snacks and get ready to go. Give yourself the time you need! And if you don’t have that time, take a serious look at your schedule. We’ve dropped some really fun activities because it’s just not worth the stress to push ourselves out of the house so often.
Do you have a kid that loves to help? Awesome! While we don’t want to overuse their willingness to help, an extra set of hands is always welcome. My oldest has always been a helper, so she may pack snacks, help her little siblings with shoes, or bring things out to the van. It’s important not to take advantage of your Helper too often. Let them feel useful, not used. Oftentimes I’ll have my oldest daughter make lists when we are going on a family trip, so she is being useful, but she’s not running around like crazy getting everything done herself.
Do you have other time management tips for different personalities? I’d love to hear more in the comments!
Image courtesy of seppics