Teach kids time management by writing on the clock

I’m on a deep dive in the Parent Hacks archives. It’s sort of like a treasure hunt; I’m looking for gems tucked among nine years’ worth of posts so I can polish them for the forthcoming Parent Hacks book.

Many of the best hacks are hard to find because they’re hidden in the comments which the blog’s less-than-stellar Search function doesn’t reliably access. This hack is one example. — Asha

It took one of my kids a loooooong time to "get" how the passage of time impacted this child’s before-school routine.

There are the sorts of conversations we’d have every morning:

"If you take longer to eat, you’ll have less time to brush your teeth."

"If you pack your backpack the night before, you can add those minutes to your breakfast-eating time the next morning."

"If you get up 15 minutes late, you have to shave 15 minutes off your morning routine so you’ll still be on time to school."

There were a lot of tardies back then.

I came up with a hack to help my kids better understand time management; I stuck Post-It notes directly onto our mantle clock so they could "see" the morning routine progress. I found that using an analog clock (with the moving hands) visually represented the passage of time in a way a digital clock, timer or series of alarms couldn’t.

That’s a long backstory to set up Golden’s hack, which is similar to mine but a little more elegant:

We have a cheap analog wall clock with a glass face, like one you’d hang on your kitchen wall. I use wipe-off markers to write the different tasks directly on the clock. Works great and you can add or remove tasks as they change.

Writing directly on the clock! Think how cool it would look with those oversized glass clocks (I think I’ve seen them at IKEA).

Another option: this adorable chalkboard wall clock. At the moment it’s about $15 at Amazon which seems like a pretty good deal.

I’m happy to report that tardies are a thing of the past, and morning routines go smoothly. (I should hope so — my kids have just started middle- and high school!)

How do you teach your kids to manage their time?