It might be a while before your child understands the value of time, but I’m sure that you’ve already figured that out. There aren’t enough hours in a day, not enough days in a week, and we were all 21 just yesterday.
Unfortunately, those are all lessons we’ve learned when it’s too late. That’s why I always try to impress the value of time on all the youth that I coach.
Still, no matter how much they understand what I’m teaching them, it’s never easy for kids to appreciate how valuable time is. It’s easy for them to spend time in ways that might not only be unproductive, but harmful, too.
As a youth life coach, I encourage parents to think about these five biggest time wasters and how you can deal with them. While reading, keep in mind that these time wasters aren’t the end of the world. It’s perfectly okay for them to be a part of your child’s life, just in moderation.
There’s no denying that technology is integrated into our everyday lives, and the same can be said for the lives of kids. Technology connects us, helps us learn and entertains us. You wouldn’t be able to read about these time wasters without technology.
But it’s easy for people to become obsessed with technology. Some studies have shown that teens spend up to nine hours a day, on average, online. This is mostly on their phone, but could be on tablets, computers, video games or other devices. Technology can be the biggest time waster of any on this list.
What to do about it: Set clear rules around technology use in the house. Define when it can and can’t be used. This means that you need to understand technology as well; realize that it’s a means of socializing, learning and growing, not just a distraction. Keep that in mind when establishing rules.
This might seem like the very definition of wasting time, but procrastination has a cascading impact on how much time it ruins. Procrastination involves starting a task, getting distracted, putting minimal work in, then leaving it until the very last minute.
Not only does this waste multiple chunks of time, but it results in lower-quality results when your child finally crams in the work they need to get done.
What to do about it: The best thing you can do to fight procrastination is get rid of distractions where your kid does their work. By removing these, there are less things to stop your child from working. Figure out how they work best, too, and optimize their workspace for them.
Being organized isn’t just about keeping up appearances. In fact, keeping a clean room, house and workspace helps kids work more efficiently. But when clutter and messiness overtakes organization, the opposite will happen.
Disorganization leads to increased distractions, difficulty finding things that you need and more stress. All of that adds up to a lot of wasted time.
What to do about it: Make cleaning a regular chore in the house. Youth should be responsible for keeping their own things tidy while assisting at home.
It might seem like a good idea at first, but it’s been proven that multi-tasking doesn’t save time and, like procrastinating, ends up with a lesser-quality result. Worse, multi-tasking can easily become frustrating and lead to procrastination.
Even those who feel like they have a grasp of multi-tasking are wasting time when they could be focusing on individual tasks.
What to do about it: Focusing is a championship habit that you should work to develop in your child. Being able to focus on a single task at once and excel at it will pay off later in life. Try to nurture that focus to minimize the time wasted with multi-tasking.
5. Sleeping in
First things first: there is nothing wrong with sleeping in once in a while. In fact, sometimes it’s necessary after a long week or when you need to recover.
That being said, it’s easy for kids (and adults) to waste their mornings away by sleeping in. Those first few hours of the day can be productive or fun, yet most of us lose them to sleep. Think of all the hours you’ve lost from an extra thirty minutes of sleep each day that you didn’t really need. Sleeping in and poor sleeping habits can quickly add up to be a major time waster.
What to do about it: Establish a regular sleep routine for your kids. Make sure they’re in bed at a reasonable time and aren’t staying up on their phone or watching TV. While sleeping in can be a time waster, make sure that your kids are still getting 8-10 hours of sleep; it’s just better to sleep 9pm-6am than it is 2am-11am.
Like all bad habits, getting rid of these time wasters won’t be easy. But committing to getting some of that time back for you and your family will pay off for everyone involved.
Remember, though, that most of these time wasters are okay in moderation. Be aware of what you need to work on with your child and try to get back some of that lost time.