Parents & Teachers: Priorities
Parents have so many responsibilities when raising their family. Not only are parents responsible for the day-to-day chores, working, cooking, cleaning, driving, and homework supervision – they are also responsible for teaching values, community service, and media literacy. How on earth are we expected to "do it all" and where do we place our priorities?
What are your priorities?
Here's an interesting activity to do yourself, and then with your teens. It is an activity to help you identify whether your stated priorities match how you spend your time, and it will start plenty of conversations around the dinner table.
Quick Facts You Need
- There are 168 hours in a week.
- If you are completing this activity as a parent, you should be sleeping 8 hours a day – allowing you to be awake 112 hours a week.
- If you are completing this activity as a preteen/teen/child, you should be sleeping 10 hours a night – allowing you to be awake 98 hours a week.
- Start with 2 pieces of paper and draw a big circle on each one. These circles will become 2 pie charts.
- On the first circle, you are going to represent your priorities – family, work or school, love, friends, and time for self.
- Divide your circle into 5 sections and label them, writing "priorities" on the top of the page.
- Now, copy the list at the bottom of this page, transfer it to a word processing document, add other things you do each day, and take off the activities you usually do not spend time doing. The list can be found under the "Sorting Your Priorities" section.
Note: If you want the next step to be really accurate, you may need to keep track of a day or two so you know exactly how much time you spend on things.
- Now, write down how much time you spend on each activity, total it up by category, and then write down the % of time you spend on each section.
- Lastly, complete the second circle by creating a pie chart that reflects how you realistically spend your waking hours during the week.
Example Pie Charts:
Chart 1: Your Priorities
Chart 2: Your Realistic Weekly Hours
Do the two pie charts match. If so, then you are "balanced" and your priorities are reflected by your daily activities. More likely, your priorities do not match your activities and the difference is what causes you some daily frustration.
Sorting Your Priorities
If you're stuck on what goes in each of the categories used in the activity, here's a list to get you started. Please note: where things belong may be different for you vs. your kids. For example, if you do community service with your children, you may count that as family time. However, if you serve on a committee without your children, you would classify it under work or school instead.
- Meals (shared at the table)
- Cleaning the House
- Arranging activities
- Making appointments
- Shopping (groceries, family-related)
- Walking the dog (could be exercise)
- Car-related errands
- Supervising homework
- Finances (paying the bills, banks, taxes, etc.)
- Recreation (movies, skating, etc.)
- Community service
- Religious activities
- TV or Movies
- Work or School
- Professional or required reading(s)
- Dates (alone time for meals, coffee, time to talk, etc.)
- Finding a partner
(parents: could go under "time for self")
- Activities (movies, games, bowling, etc.)
- Phone or Texting
- IM: Instant Messaging (Google Hangout, Facebook Chat, Skype, etc.)
- Time for Self
- Lessons & Practice (music, sports, art, cooking, etc.)
- Hygiene (nails, bathing, hair, etc.)
- Social time with friends
- Shopping (for self)
- Therapy (Counseling)
- Community service (volunteering at school, etc.)
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