Time Management for Middle Schoolers
Middle school can be a challenging transitional period for students. Middle schoolers are expected to be more independent than they were in elementary school. In a given week, they will have multiple homework assignments assigned by different teachers and likely with few reminders of what is due. On top of smaller daily tasks, students are also frequently expected to work on more extensive papers and projects over multiple days or weeks.
Proper time management skills are essential for middle schoolers to be successful. Fortunately, time management is a learned skill, and middle school teachers and parents who make a conscious effort can help adolescents develop the time management techniques they need to succeed later in life.
Here are some time management tips for middle schoolers to help them start developing this essential skill.
1. Create a Daily Schedule
Creating a daily schedule is a simple but effective time management strategy for middle schoolers. Before middle schoolers can manage their time effectively, they need to understand how much time they have available. It's easy for students to overestimate the time they have available, which can leave them with insufficient time to complete important tasks like chores and homework. Teaching middle schoolers to create a basic outline of their day helps students prioritize better.
The school day is already planned out for students, but teachers can help middle-schoolers organize their schedules outside of school, too. Have your students set realistic expectations for the things they need to do, such as homework. Make sure they account for transitions and other activities that often go overlooked, such as walking home from school, eating and getting ready for bed.
Once students plan the tasks they need to prioritize each day, they can better figure out how to get everything accomplished. Having a firm understanding of the time available to them in relation to their responsibilities can greatly help improve middle schoolers' time management skills.
2. Use a Planner to Keep Track of Daily Tasks
How often have you heard "I forgot" as an excuse for students not having their homework? Middle school students tend to have multiple homework assignments each day given by different teachers. Keeping organized may not seem difficult for adults or high school students. Still, it can be a big transition for middle school children who are accustomed to multiple reminders each day from a single teacher who kept track of all their schoolwork. On top of this, middle school students are likely to be involved in after-school activities and have more responsibilities at home.
Providing every student with a planner and teaching them how to use them can go a long way in teaching them proper time management. Writing assignments down helps students keep track of their responsibilities.
Encourage your students to write down responsibilities they have outside of school, too. Making a comprehensive list of all their tasks allows students to plan their day in a way that avoids surprises and scheduling conflicts. When students list everything they need to accomplish each day, they are less likely to waste time or wait until the last minute to start a task.
Of course, writing assignments down is only part of using a planner effectively. Students also need to get into the habit of checking their planners daily and holding themselves responsible for completing their assignments. Help students develop a routine for when they will check their agenda and do their homework each night.
For many students, the best time for homework is as soon as they get home each day. However, following another routine activity like eating dinner or at a set time like 6 p.m. works too. The most important thing is for them to be consistent so that using their planner becomes a habit.
3. Teach Long-Term and Short-Term Goal Setting
So far, we've discussed important daily activities to help students with time management, but students also need to know how to plan for the long term. Creating daily schedules and writing tasks down is excellent for helping students grasp the "what," but goal planning helps them understand the "why." Setting goals motivates students, builds a sense of self-efficacy and teaches responsibility. For goals to be effective, you can also encourage the SMART method. SMART stands for:
In addition to having students set academic goals, consider having students set personal goals as well. Expanding the activity to include non-academic goals helps build student buy-in and gives them additional practice setting and monitoring goals.
Setting a goal without a plan to achieve it is little more than wishful thinking. To help students reach their goals, have them break their goals into small actionable steps. Encourage students as they complete each milestone toward achieving their goal and celebrate their success. Tracking progress toward time-sensitive goals can help instill time management in your middle schoolers. If students fall behind on a goal, help them reflect on what they could have done differently. Then reassess deadlines and plan the next steps to help them get back on track.
4. Break Tasks Into Small Manageable Parts
Just like students can break their personal goals into smaller steps to make them easier to achieve, middle schoolers can dissect assignments into smaller, simpler tasks to make them more manageable. Breaking a project into smaller parts is nothing new to middle school students as this is a common practice even in elementary school. The major shift is teaching students to break their assignments and set deadlines on their own.
When teaching time management to middle school students, we recommend starting with modeling and then moving to guided practice. When assigning a major project to your middle schoolers for the first time, create sequential steps with individual due dates. For later assignments, set a final due date and discuss with your students as a class to create an action plan and check-in points.
After repeating this cycle with students for a few projects, consider assigning only a final due date and empowering your students to create their own milestones and timelines.
Success by Design Planners With a Purpose
Instilling time management in middle schoolers prepares them to be successful in middle school and later in life as well. We designed our middle school planners to meet the unique personal and development needs of students in grades six through eight. In addition to helping students develop the time management skills to balance school work and after-school activities, our planners include additional sections to help students sharpen their study and test-taking skills and build good character.
We offer customization and bulk pricing for schools. Contact our friendly customer service team to learn more.
- SBD, Inc.