While we talk about the importance of punctuality, what is punctuality, really? In fact, punctuality is one of the most critical elements of discipline that every child should be taught early. It can go a long way in giving the child a sense of stability and confidence. Interestingly in her book, “ The Culture Map”. Professor Erin Meyer talks about how time is valued across cultures. While some cultures look at time in a linear fashion, in others it is considered to be flexible. India features in the flexible group. The key perhaps lies in finding a healthy balance between the two concepts. So while we need to adhere to the linear concept of time, the idea is not to become inflexible either.
Importance of Punctuality & Time Management
When it comes to students, particularly, punctuality and time management help them in getting their tasks done on schedule. Some of the benefits of punctuality and time management for students include:
- Getting things done on time – As a student being conscious of time will mean that you get your assignments and other work done on time. This will lead to several things. First up, it will help you maintain your grades and be on top of your game. Importantly, it will mean much less stress and anxiety. Being punctual means you aren’t quite waiting for jobs to become urgent before attending to them. Also, following a schedule will give you enough time to do things with clarity.
- Increased productivity – What all of this will translate to, is also increased productivity as you plan in advance and adhere to timelines.
- Dependability – Punctual children are seen as being extremely dependable. In turn, this will propel them to leadership roles and they will be offered more responsibilities.
- Self-confidence- Completing tasks on time as well as the validation that comes with it, will go a long way in developing the child’s confidence in his or her formative years.
- Marker for success – Being punctual is a big marker for success in later life. Think of successful professionals across fields and you will notice that discipline and punctuality are their strengths. When it is inculcated in life early, punctuality becomes a habit that stays.
The benefits of punctuality established, it is important to know how to teach this important life skill to children. Here are some handy tips:
Believe it or not, the value of punctuality can be instilled as early as when the child is a toddler. Needless to say that it has to be done in an age-appropriate manner. At this stage parents can instill a sense of routine and consistency, that will become a foundation for punctuality and time management in later life. Done well, the child can form several associations, for example, once it gets dark the child will know that it is story time and then bedtime.
At an appropriate age you need to teach the child to read time from a clock or a digital watch. Together you can draw up schedules and manage time. Placing timetables at different places helps them internalize the routine. What is imperative, however, is that parents model good behavior such as going to bed and waking up early, for the child to internalize it.
With teens developing a strong sense of self and sometimes even becoming rebellious, it is important to explain the reason behind what you are suggesting, for them to follow it. Having a candid conversation about punctuality as a value will also hold merit. Teens can be encouraged to chalk out their schedules independently. This will enable them to own it and follow it through. Introducing them to organizational tools can also work well.
To Sum Up
Lee Iacocca, the legendary business leader put it succinctly when he said, “If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got.” Children need to be taught early that time values those who value time!