Thursday , 14 June 2018

Teaching children punctuality

Maria Fernandes


For Ahmed being late for the school bus is a common occurrence. His neighbours and busmates will tell you how upsetting it is to hear the constant honking of the horn as the bus waits impatiently for him.

There are many like Ahmed who do not realise the importance of punctuality and parents who don’t actively try hard enough to instil this habit in their children. At the most they keep reminding their child about the time and tell them to hurry up or they will be late. In fact this goes on day after day, week after week until being late becomes the child’s second nature.

“Punctuality is a habit that has to be taught to children from the time they are very young as it takes time to inculcate the same. They should be made to realise the value of time and importance of punctuality in every task they perform,” says counsellor Jyoti Pereira. Retired high school teacher Nazia Khan agrees and says: “The importance of punctuality and its benefits cannot be stressed enough. Punctuality goes hand-in-hand with discipline and also affects academic performance to a certain level. If a student is continuously late to school, he misses out on what the teacher covers in class and is rarely motivated to find out and study. I remember a student of mine who was nearly always late and hence was not allowed in class and would end up sitting in the canteen wasting his time. After some time he even stopped coming to school.”

Here are a few tips to teach your child how to be on time

Lead by example

Remember child learn by watching their parents and adults and imitating them. So if you are in the habit of being late, you cannot expect your child to be punctual. Hence setting examples like going to bed on time is a good way to instil the habit.

Wake up your child early

The proverb, ‘Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’ holds true even today. Going to bed late and waking up late gives rise to tardiness hence inculcating the habit of rising early will decrease the chances of being late.

Rewards work

Give your child a chore to complete and if he completes it on time, give him a pat on the back or compliment or reward him with a little extra play or TV time as this will motivate and encourage him to make it a habit. However slowly wean him from the rewards or he will expect a reward every time he completes his work on time.

Teach the importance of time

Let your child know the consequences of being late. Example: getting up late can lead to missing the bus and hence being late for school and this can further impact studies.

Explain the significance of punctuality

Explain to the child how being on time says a lot about a person’s integrity. Tell him it is bad manners to keep someone waiting especially if a certain time is fixed upon. Let him know that people could often feel let down by these actions.

Give a watch/clock or


Teach young children time management by watching the clock with them and pointing out how long it takes to complete a certain task like a bath or shower or getting dressed. This will help them to plan other activities and do things on time.

Be consistent

Children are bound to slack off at some point of time hence communicating with them and providing the right tools can help them sustain the practice of being on time.

Being punctual has many benefits and one of them is it can lead to self confidence. It shows that not only can you trust yourself but also let others rely on you. Educating children in this matter reaps rewards in the present as well as in the future!

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