I was going over our schedule with my two younger children, when “it” started, the whining, complaining, and moaning! Sometimes there were all out temper tantrums! They did not understand the concept of time. It is not their fault and something had to be done to show them. That is when I had a light bulb moment and dealing with time from a different perspective was born.
My children went from temper tantrums and time wasting to doing their chores in about a week. The issue is that the thought of doing so many things in a day is not the same as actually doing those things. We spent about three days timing chores and the rest of the week to get into a new rhythm.
Here is what we did:
- broke down the time of a 16 hour day into five minute increments.
- blocked out their free time, meal times, and homeschool time.
- timed them while they did their chores.
* Emptying the dishwasher – approx. 5 minutes
* Loading the dishwasher – approx. 7 minutes for a lot of dishes
This could be more or less depending upon the amount of dishes.
* Emptying all of the small trash cans and putting in new bags – 4 minutes
* Picking up after the animal – approx. 5 minutes
There are 288 Five minute increments in one 24 hour day. That means they have a plenty of time to get things done. One of the kids even reminded me that I did not add time to sleep. 8 hours of sleeping time is equal to 96 five minute increments. Once all was said and done, they had 192 five minute increments left in the day.
Some kids need visuals because words do not work. Think Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang with the teacher speaking in the classroom. I ended up making a long sheet with an entire day of 5 minute increments. (Now I wish I had taken a photo.) Together we colored in the time it took to do the chores, eat meals, and sleep. We also colored in how much time they spent watching TV. This went on for about 3 days or so until they got the picture.
The reality of getting young children to understand reason and dealing with time might be difficult, but it’s a good start in teaching them how to effectively manage their time. In the end, the kids and I had fun seeing how long each chore took and reconfiguring our schedule.
With all this in mind, let’s see if we can apply this to our often hectic and overwhelming days…
* How are you at dealing with time?
* How many tasks can you think of that only take about five, ten, or fifteen
* List them for each day, week or month, and then attempt to insert those short tasks into your schedule.
If you don’t have a schedule, grab a sheet of paper to start writing down the five-minute tasks. Doing this will give you the opportunity to add up how many five-minute increments you will need to complete everything. Then, you have a starting place.
Here are the planner pages I use. They have 15 minute blocks of time from 7 AM to 9 PM.
It’s all in your perspective. If you see a lot of tiny tasks it can be overwhelming. But when you know you have about 192 five-minute increments in your entire day, you can insert small tasks and then insert the larger ones such as making dinner. I know this may sound TOO organized. But once you try it and succeed, you’ll cherish YOUR free time and be happy you did it.
If you have questions or need help, comment below.