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Tips for Teaching Time Management

Elizabeth Dunagan

Tips for Teaching Time ManagementAdding a little tick tock to your teaching may be just the thing your students need to learn time management.

One of the challenges many teachers and parents face is keeping children on task while doing their class work or homework. Time management on small tasks, such as spelling homework or a math assignment, can be very difficult for young children. The task is repetitive and they tend to let their mind wander.

Here are my tips to making time management lessons effective and fun for students.

Tap into Timers

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In order to help children increase time on task, use a timer. Either a digital timer, where the time counts down for them, or an old fashioned timer where they can see the dial ticking down will work. You can find a selection of classroom timers in the TeachHUB store.


Determine Time Limits Together

When it is time to do the work, ask the students how long the assignment should take. Guide them to an accurate time, usually about 1 minute per question or problem is sufficient, and then set the timer. Place the timer on the table right in front of the child or at the front of the classroom so that they can see time counting down as they work. 


Motivate with Class Rewards

If you’d like, tell the children that if they complete their work accurately and neatly, before the timer goes off, they can have some small reward. Free time, picking the next class activity, a sticker or having the chance to play a quick game are usually good incentives for children to stay on task. 


Make It a Game

Racing against the clock may also make the activity more enjoyable for some students who see it as a game or challenge. As long as set reasonable, achievable time limitations, you can build up the confidence of students who work at a slower pace when they “win” against the clock.

Encourage Students & Adjust task Times

Sometimes, some students won’t finish the assignment before the timer goes off. If the child has legitimately been working hard the entire time but does not complete the assignment, it is perfectly fine to add some extra time. You should praise their efforts and adjust to the child’s actual working speed in the future.


By having the timer track the time spent on an assignment, students will become more aware of the passing of time and how long things should take. Often, the simple trick of adding a timer will take the nagging to stay on task out of class/homework time, will increase the students’ focus, and alleviate some anxiety students feel toward tests and assignments with time limitations.


Eventually children will no longer need the timer to focus on completing work because they will understand how to stay focused on their own.

How do you teach your students to manage their time? Share in the comments section!