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Helping Your Child Learn Time Management

Completing chores and projects can be difficult for children affected by ADHD. The disorder interferes with time management and causes the novelty of a new idea or project to wear off and makes it difficult to finish. What can you do to help your child learn how to get things done?

“Time management demands that the child do something reasonably quickly and within some defined time frame. Few circumstances permit the child to take as long as he or she wants to complete a task,” writes Terry J. Illes, PhD. “That would be a comforting world in which to live, but it certainly is not the world we expect our children to inhabit. ”

“In our high-pressured society, we tend to focus on the bottom line,” Dr. Illes continues. “It is the completion of the task that we are most invested in rather than the learning of the skill. As adults, we merely care whether the task was completed or not, and we rarely pay much attention to how the outcome was accomplished. Without question, outcome trumps process. Unfortunately, our hyperfocus on outcome leads us to manage task completion in ways that ironically and inadvertently undermine the skill of time management.” He writes that shifting the focus from outcome to learning experience can help.

“Time management is a process, task completion is the outcome of that process,” he writes. “Although several factors other than time management influence the outcome (such as persistence, age, or intelligence), outcome is a convenient shorthand we often use to assess time management.”

Dr. Illes offered suggestions to help manage the conflict between time management and task completion:

  • Be aware of the conflict.
  • Redefine what it means to accomplish a task.

· Break tasks down into small parts and set firm time limits.

Read more about using these suggestions to help children learn time management.

This article appeared in ADHD Weekly on July 21, 2016.

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