03 September 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Time Management Help: Time Banking

The concept of Time Banking was created to give parents a concrete way to teach their children how long a task can take, and further, to teach their children to estimate more accurately their task completion. By learning and applying the principles of Time Banking, as presented in the Family Seminar “Teaching Your Child Time Management Skills,” a parent can more accurately guide their child toward understanding her responsibility in completion of her lessons.

If you did not attend this family seminar, watch the recorded session in Calvert’s webinar library before using this worksheet to apply what you learned.

The definition of Executive Function: The cognitive process that regulates an individual’s ability to organize thoughts and activities, prioritize tasks, manage time efficiently, and make decisions.

Time Bank Presumptions

Successful time banking relies on the following presumptions:

  1. The time bank only works if you start with time first. It doesn’t work retroactively.
  2. It presumes that there is a predetermined reward for your child. Banking time only has value if there is a reward for it.
  3. It presumes that you will deliver on your reward — so be careful to create rewards that you can allow.
  4. Remember that rewards are incremental, and need to be delivered frequently to reinforce the concept.

Time Bank Rules

  1. Banked time can be redeemed only once an hour has been accrued.
  2. Banked time cannot be redeemed if a day’s work is not complete.
  3. Banked time can be accumulated and saved for an event.
  4. Banked time cannot be lost as punishment.
  5. Banked time is a “currency of school,” and you have to earn that currency by being a good citizen.
  6. Redeemed time-bank minutes need to be crossed out by parent and child together.

Time Bank Rewards

  • Television
  • Video games
  • Non-academic computer time
  • A special trip or outing, say to the movies
  • A special occasion with friends – during the week
  • You decide!

NOTE: Rewards are only redeemable once an hour has been accrued in the time bank.

Remember, this system is one that requires a period of time to learn to implement and see results. This is like establishing a new habit. Don’t look for successful results until you have been using this daily for at least three weeks.

Common Questions about Time Banking

What if my child continually overestimates time?

The time bank log will help you determine if your child is doing this, and it is within your right as a parent to make that observation. You are teaching him a skill, so it will require you to supervise his adjustment to this skill.

What is the best age to start time banking?

When I first started time banking, I began with my middle-schoolers, because I believed you needed a concept of time in order to understand how it passed. However, after using it for several years, I realized that I could also do it with my younger children – I just had to anticipate that they would not internalize the passing of time in the same way, and I would have to be more diligent in helping them understand. For younger children, I don’t have them estimate time; rather, I provide the estimate.

What happens if I have a child who cannot estimate correctly, and never banks any time?

This may require you to examine what else is going on in the environment. Is he or she distracted? Are you leaving him too much to his own devices? Are you applying your concept of how long something should take (with an adult completing the task) rather than realizing that children will take longer to do something than their parents? Remember, if it doesn’t work for a week or more, you might need to reach out to the Education Counselors and ask them to help you analyze why it is not working.

NOTE: It may take several days for your child to begin to estimate correctly. Remember, you as the parent are the one who has ultimate authority over their correctness. This is not a disciplinary tool – it is a way to teach them to gauge the time it will take for an event.

Remember: The time bank itself will offer you information about your child’s skill. As you consistently record their successes/failures, you will be able to note when they have estimated correctly, and then guide them to do it more frequently.

Can we use time banking with things other than academics?

Yes, but follow the same principles and resist the urge to use it for everything. You are trying to teach a skill, not create a system of controls.

– Gretchen Roe

Gretchen Roe is the Calvert Community Liaison and has been homeschooling for 20 years. She has used and continues to use the Calvert curriculum to educate her 6 children.

Gretchen hosts a variety of free webinars. She offers Calvert Online Information Sessions once a week as well as family seminars on topics ranging from dealing with digital addiction to kick-starting a new school year.


Register for a session or watch a pre-recorded session from the webinar library.