H4: Head, Heart, Hands & Health

Last month we discussed the importance of coaching youth who are dual-enrolled or virtual students on finding and keeping an effective planning tool. These suggestions are not limited to just these youth, but they are often the ones that are hindered the most when these time management methods are not in place. After the youth has selected the planning tool they feel the most comfortable with, have them take the next month’s worth of assignments and extracurricular activities and input it into their system. Only start with the first month as you do not want them becoming overwhelmed and discouraged from the beginning. The next step is helping them establish a daily routine. Do not do this for them. The programs they are in require immense responsibility and self-management skills. Plus you want to encourage them to find the routine that will help them do their best not what you think is best. Advise them to ask the following questions to determining what type of routine will work for them: What times are my classes? These are fixed unchangeable points that other priorities must be scheduled around. When are my assignments due? Again fixed unchangeable points. What times are my extracurricular activities? Also fixed points but are flexible when determining priorities. What is the order of importance for each of my classes, assignments, activities, etc.? This will help them set their priorities and create a balanced system. Is my schedule too busy and if so which activity should I consider eliminating or can I rearrange things to participate in all of my commitments? How long does each activity last? Class A is from 9 a.m. – 10:45 a.m., Softball practice is 4:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., etc. How much time do I need to dedicate to doing my best for each of my commitments? Essay #3 needs an hour of commitment each day for two weeks, worksheet #8 needs 30 minutes one day, exercise routine needs 90 minutes four days a week, etc. After the youth has considered each of these questions, their unique schedule should be mostly complete. Help them review their schedule to see if anything has been duplicated or forgotten. Help the youth double check for overlapping appointments or over-scheduling their hours (remind them they have to relax and sleep sometime!). Take time each week during the first month of this new schedule to check in with the youth. See how well they think their unique schedule is working. Have them keep notes of things that are working and things they would like to change. During the last week of the month, go over these notes and have them prepare their next two to three months in their calendar, adjusting where needed. Remember schedules are guidelines and should have some flexibility. Next month we will discuss staying involved while creating a self-managing youth in these unique educational environments. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Employment Opportunity—Affirmative Action Employer authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A&M. University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating.

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