a student with
a learning difference.
Don't fight it.
Many parents know that getting off task and missing deadlines is a common occurrence for students with labels like ADHD, autism spectrum, visual or auditory processing delays, or school related anxiety. But few parents realize that this is also a hallmark for all sorts of Neuro-Wiring issues like processing disorders, dysgraphia, and even school related stress. On the flip side, MANY people with time management issues don't have any type of disorder at all! Hopefully, all those chronically late friends of mine are not diagnose-able!
Fact is, we don't come Pre-programmed for time management. It is a learned behavior. And while many children learn by watching others (think Mom & Dad), some kids need to be actively taught how to get things done in a timely fashion. If you have a learning difference, chances are that getting off topic is a well developed habit by this point in your life.
For some folks, especially those with learning differences, the art of time management must be taught at a very early age, just like taking that first step, eating with a spoon, drinking with a sippy cup, or potty training.
Think about how much time we put into toilet training our kids. Yep! That is how much time we should be putting into teaching time management. But let's assume for a minute you didn't do it way back then and now you have a problem. What'cha gonna do?
Start teaching it right now! At the start of each day, take 20 minutes to sit down and make a plan. Start by making a list of the KEY THINGS that the student needs to get done today. Then allocate a reasonable amount of time for each one. This is the tricky part because your student's idea of "reasonable time" is likely to be very different than yours. It is also important to make sure that you note both how much time it should take to do the job and exact when during the day the job should be done i.e. Wash dishes at 2-2:30pm.
Do Just Three Things!
- Start Small
- Be Consistent
- Keep Going
Yep, that's it! Start small and be consistent. And do it long enough to form a habit. How long does it take to form a habit? Well, if it is done every single day with consistency, it takes the brain about 4 weeks to lay down a new neuro-pathway (form a habit). Then that habit has to be repeated about every 4 days in order to keep the new pathway alive and growing. That's what it takes to make it stick.
Starting small means that you focus only on the main things that need to get done. These things are more likely to have meaning to your child if he knows that there is a finite list of things that matter to you. Then do it every day without fail. Consistency is key!
So teach your guy **or gal** the time management skills they will need. Teach them now and they will thank you when they are older. Actually, you will thank yourself when your teen is getting things done without constant oversight from you!
Start Small, Be Consistent!
And do it long enough to form a habit.✿