Electronics. How did we ever live without them? How can we live with them? They save us time and do tasks we couldn’t do manually. But we all need to find the fine line between use and abuse. Teens are learning about time management and that includes monitoring the way they use electronics.
Electronics Can Steal Time.
Kate looked up as the clock chimed. Time for Jason and Avery to go to bed. She sat aside her book and went to Avery’s room. At fourteen, she needed more sleep than her older brother.
Kate knocked on her daughter’s door. “Avery?”
“Come in. I just have to finish my math and read a little history.”
“Avery, you need your sleep. What happened?”
“I don’t know. I got started late. Play practice lasted too long. After dinner, I checked my messages and time got away. Just a little longer.
Leaning across the bed, Kate gave her daughter a hug. “Call me when you finish, and I’ll pray with you. Remember, you aren’t happy when you’re short on sleep.”
As Kate left Avery’s room, she shook her head. How in the world could she get her to do her homework early? She knocked on Jason’s door. No answer. She peeked in. The light was on. Books, laptop, and phone lay on the bed. Jason was sound asleep.
Kate set aside Jason’s books and devices and pulled up the covers. As she turned out the light, she wondered if four years had muddied her memory. It seemed Jason’s grip on time management at fourteen had been better than his sister’s was now.
Would Avery ever make homework a priority? Kate had tried to help her understand that she could enjoy fun stuff more if she got homework out of the way first. Maybe it was time to talk to her again. Or should she let Avery fall on her face (literally, if she kept missing sleep) and figure this out on her own?
Schedule Electronics around Homework.
Learning to manage time and make homework a priority is a habit. One of the disadvantages of small amounts of homework in the early years is that developing positive habits is not as necessary. If all a second-grader needs to do is read a few pages, that assignment doesn’t take enough time to require planning. Once kids hit middle school, more homework and long-term assignments necessitate organization.
Perhaps the answer is to schedule a homework time. It can be right after school or right after dinner. Electronics (Avery checked her messages and lost track of time.) needs an allocated amount and a specific slot of time. Otherwise, it will consume a kid’s evening.
One Idea for a Schedule…
My suggestion is that kids play outside right after school and then have dinner with the family. Homework should begin as soon as the meal is finished. Waiting to check with friends is an incentive to get the homework done.
Even without texts and social media to battle, my parents enforced the same schedule in my life: Outside after school, dinner as a family, and homework right after dinner. We only got to watch television, read, and call friends if we had completed our homework. I used the same schedule with my kids except that they sometimes started on homework while I cooked dinner.
It will require resolve and oversight by parents, but this kind of schedule is possible even in today’s environment. The good news is that you will be building a habit that will last a lifetime.
Teen Perspective: Homework Is Excuse to Skip Kitchen Duty
And the advantage of my parents’ schedule? I could use homework’s call as an excuse to skip cleaning up the kitchen…sometimes.