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How Reading Can Help Develop Your Child’s Time Management and Planning Skills

How Reading Can Help Develop Your Child’s Time Management and Planning Skills


Every milestone your child reaches is a big deal, whether that’s taking their first steps or saying their first word, or when they start to be more independent. While reaching these milestones can be a little sad, it means they’re growing and developing, so you want to do whatever you can to help them learn new skills. One way you can help your child develop time management and planning skills, in particular, is through reading. 

By reading, your child can learn time, routine and planning, giving them more independence and confidence. This can help them in so many ways, including in their home life and schooling. Let’s look at some ways you can help your child develop essential time management and planning skills through reading and Busy Books.

Benefits of Developing Your Child’s Time Management & Planning Skills

Developing your child’s time management and planning skills can help them in many areas of their life. It will help them at home and be a more involved member of the family, as well as at kindergarten and school. They are skills they will use for the rest of their life.

Some of the top benefits of your child building time management and planning skills include:

  • Builds confidence and independence.
  • Increased performance at school.
  • Feeling included.
  • Reduces stress.
  • Better emotional regulation.
  • Increasing focus.

Children typically begin to understand the concept of time around 4 years old, but this may be sooner or later depending on their development. 

How Reading Can Help Kids Learn Time Management & Planning Skills

Learning to read clocks and understand time.

Many books, particularly those for young children, are dedicated to helping children learn how to understand time and read clocks. In particular, activity-based books, like Busy Books, help them get hands-on with showing their understanding of time. For example, the My Body Mindful Time Busy Book has children draw hands on a clock to match a specific time. It will also have them place times (such as 12:00) under the matching clock.

To help further their progress, as you and your child go about their day, you can have them tell you the time on the clock at different times of the day. In the beginning, you can have them do this at specific times in their routine, such as bed time, nap time or dinner time, relying on recall to help them. As they progress, you can ask them at random times to develop their time management skills.

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Discovering days, months, years, seasons and tenses.

Through reading different books, kids will be exposed to days, months, years and seasons, as well as tenses. It’s important to use books that correspond with the seasonality of your country to ensure they learn correctly. For example, in Australia, you’d ensure you’d use books that talk about December being in summer, with hot weather, opposed to in America, where December is in winter. This will help prevent confusion.

As well as learning to read clocks, kids can use the My Body Mindful Time Busy Book to learn the days of the week, months, years, seasons, as well as about past, present and future tense. For example, kids are asked what months are in what seasons, what date yesterday was, the weather today and more to learn to think outside the box about time. 

Learning to follow steps and plan actions.

An important part of developing planning skills is learning to follow steps and how they help you towards your goal. When kids learn how to take steps, they can plan how to be on time and make contributions to other routines. For example, through taking steps, you can ask your child what steps they need to do to ensure they are ready for school the next day, and then help them work through that plan.

“Aside from learning how to take steps from Busy Books, children can be encouraged to plan their approach before they place cutouts. Have them explain to you what they’re going to do and why, sharing their plan and thinking about why planning ahead is important.”

A good way to help kids learn to follow steps is through the Talk With Me Busy Book. You and your child will follow different steps to complete a goal, such as placing ingredients into ordered boxes to make a pizza or placing fruit cut outs on a trolley drawing in the order you ask for them. This will help them learn how to follow and create steps to help them plan.

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Developing executive function skills.

Executive functions play an important role in learning time management and planning skills. It’s our ability to memorise, think flexibly and to have self control. Children can often struggle to learn time if they’re having trouble remembering important aspects of time keeping or working to a plan flexibly without good executive function skills. Reading can help develop better memory, flexible thinking and self-control, also benefiting your child’s time management and planning skills.

Using activity books, like Busy Books, can help your child sharpen their memories, flexible thinking skills, and even their self-control. Each book will often repeat topics in different ways to help children focus and think outside the box to recall information. For example, in the My Mindful Body Busy Book, children have to recall months many times in relation to where they are on the calendar, what season they’re in, what month they’re currently in and more. 

Exploring cause and effect.

When children learn cause and effect, they begin to understand their actions have a consequence, good or bad. As children begin to learn time management and planning, you can use reading to guide them on the effect of being on time and how planning can reduce negative reactions. For example, as they’re learning to read clocks, you could ask them what time they go to school. When they identify correctly, you could then ask them why it’s important they get to school on time. 

Reading opens up the opportunity for deeper conversations and more critical thinking. So, as your child grows their skills, encourage them to connect the dots to how different skills impact other areas of their life. Like any skill, this is one they learn to develop, so reading and those conversations are very important in helping them develop. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my child struggle with time management?

If your child is struggling with time management, they may also be struggling with executive function skills, such as memory, flexible thinking and self-control. Executive function is important for developing time management as it can impair the ability to focus, plan and remember, such as when remembering time or plans. 

How do I teach a child the concept of time?

Helping your child learn to read a clock and connecting times with parts of their routine throughout the day will help them learn the concept of time. You can ask them to check the clock and repeat the time when performing certain routine activities, such as having breakfast, lunch or dinner, bath time, bed time and more.

Why is it important for children to be involved in planning?

It’s important for children to be involved in planning so they can feel involved, comfortable and confident. Children will feel greater clarity in their thinking process when they know what’s happening or are involved in planning, helping them develop other new skills.

At what age do children understand time?

Children start to learn the concept of before and after, such as times, around the age of four years old. This includes understanding what today, tomorrow and yesterday means. Before this age, children won’t have the same accuracy about time and planning as older children or adults.

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