The Pomodoro Method: A Simple Time Management Tool to Help Kids Focus

By Cynthia Grimley, Town of Smithtown Youth Bureau Staff Member February 1, 2019

How many students (and adults) see procrastination as an issue? There are so many distractions in today’s world – electronic devices, cell phones, social media, Netflix… it can be difficult to get students to sit down for a project or to study.

One low tech time management technique, called the Pomodoro Method, can help. The idea came from a college student who saw procrastination as an obstacle that came in the way of his studying.

The name Pomodoro came from the “tomato” timer that he used for the method. The steps are simple yet have proven very effective! Here's how to do it:

1. Choose the topic

Have your student choose one topic to work on (one subject to study, or one homework assignment).

2. Set your timer

The official Pomodoro Method recommends 25 minutes but depending on your child's age or abilities you can adjust as needed. The idea is that the student will work on the topic/activity and set a timer for that amount of time.

3. Get to work!

The student will work for the set amount of time, limiting distractions for the duration.

4. And... stop

When the timer goes off, your student can end their work and...

5. Take a break!

Take a short break (3 to 5 minutes) and then get back to work if needed, repeating the steps above. Once they've repeated the steps a few times, they can increase the number of minutes in their break time. 

A timer works just fine for the Pomodoro Method, but there are apps that can help out with this method also. Some popular ones: The Tide app, Flat Tomato app, and PomoFocus app.

The Pomodoro Method is a simple way to get students to focus for a set amount of time. Since procrastination most often occurs when beginning a task, this method helps them take the first step to get started -- and hopefully finish! 

For more information on this, and other Study Skills Techniques, please contact the Smithtown Youth Bureau.