Time management techniques for preschoolers

Can you teach preschoolers, who have not yet mastered the ability to read, time management skills?

The answer is a definite YES!

If your family is anything like my family, then at least one adult in the family is organized focused obsessed about keeping everyone’s life scheduled and colour-coordinated on a traditional calendar.

The obsessed one in THIS  family is me. (Surprise!)

I keep track of who is doing what and when on a very nice calendar posted on our front closet door. No reason to miss anything if each person would glance at that thing occasionally…

But that calendar really is an adult schedule. The kids don’t know how to refer to it, nor does my scribbling mean anything to them.

The idea to teach the 4 year old about time in terms of days of the week, and month, that goes beyond just memorizing the weekday names, or how to spell them, came to me recently.

True, Ben is learning about days and weeks and months, about time in general, at Kindergarten. But to actually put his learning in practice, that part was something I hadn’t given much thought to.

Until we started soccer on Thursday nights.

Suddenly, Thursday night became not only soccer night, but also spaghetti-and-meatballs night. What could be easier than a crockpot full of sauce, a pot of fast-cooking spaghetti, supper at 5:15, and then a nice walk across the park to the local highschool to play soccer at 6 pm?

For Benjamin, the challenge was to find out WHEN soccer night was. How does one know what day of the week it is if one can’t ask mommy or daddy? And how do mommy and daddy know that today is, or isn’t, soccer night?

My solution to his questions was this:

We had this little calendar kicking around that no one was using. So I gave it to Ben, along with a marker, and showed him what day we were on. I left him with simple instructions:

At the end of each day, right after supper, you can cross off the day we just completed.

After about a week of this, we started taking a closer look at the calendar. I showed him the numbers, which he recognizes, and also the days of the week. I explained that in this calendar, the first square on the left is always Sunday, and that both Saturday and Sunday are marked in red to indicate weekend.

Then I got him to draw a symbol or write a letter in some of the squares to remind him of certain things:

  • a heart on this birthday
  • a ball on soccer night
  • a B on the day his beloved Lego book is due at the library

Learning about the days of the week has been so much for for him, and for the rest of us, that I believe we are well on our way to learning all about time management.


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