Overcast   33.0F  |  Forecast »
Edit Module

How to Stop Procrastination in Your Kid

Tired of harping on them to stop putting things off? Here are eight ways you can help your children increase productivity (and nip your nagging, too!).

Procrastination may be as much a part of our humanness as eating and sleeping, but adolescent kids seem especially vulnerable. In The Procrastinating Child: A Handbook for Adults to Help Children Stop Putting Things Off, author Rita Emmett explains that the bad habit is sometimes because we feel overwhelmed, become distracted or feel helpless.

Sometimes the feeling is a result of perfectionism – as it goes hand-in-hand with procrastination. If your child is fearful of failing an exam or a particular task, such anxiety may cause her to stall. She may feel stuck and unable to become mentally mobilized. The bad habit may continue into adulthood, jeopardizing future successes.

A consistent fear of failure can lead to a pattern of indecisive behavior author Neil Fiore notes as a warning sign in The Now Habit. He also identifies low self-esteem and lack of assertiveness as red flags for procrastinating behavior. Here are seven tips to help your child – and you – stop procrastinating.

1. Trick your brain.

There is hope. To combat the tendency to put things off, Fiore suggests transforming the thought "I don't want to" into "I wonder what will come?" Sounds simple, but the attitude adjustment is powerful. In a sense, that subtle shift tricks the brain into a more productive mode.

2. Get comfy with mistakes.

Help your child understand how perfectionism stops him from greater productivity. Kids need to learn it is OK to make mistakes. Explain that "not perfect" is altogether different than "fail." Plus, a certain comfort level with failure is necessary.

3. Think smaller chunks.

Emmett recommends helping children break overwhelming tasks into smaller chunks. If your child has an upcoming Civil War test and simply cannot get the gears in motion, help her get organized. Look at the task of test preparation as a series of baby steps. Help her make a short list for a plan of attack, such as: reread two chapters of the text Monday, study notes Tuesday and Wednesday, and cover vocabulary on Thursday. These time-management strategies can go a long way in thwarting procrastination.

4. Set expectations for homework completion.

Parents can influence their child's productivity by setting firm rules at home, offering rewards and making lists. Do not put off making these rules. The basic rule of "no TV until your homework is done" is an obvious place to begin to curb the procrastination. Screen time may be suspended or offered as rewards for successful time management.

5. Remove the STING from feeling overwhelmed.

Here's a great strategy from Emmett's book:

  • Select one task you've been putting off.
  • Time yourself and take one hour to accomplish the task.
  • Ignore everything around you, such as the phone and other tasks.
  • No breaks. One hour is realistic for an 8- to 12-year-old student, but reduce the time if your child is younger or has a tough time focusing for that long.
  • Give yourself a reward once the task is complete.

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Edit Module
Advertisement
Edit Module

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

Hanukkah Crafts for Kids: Holiday Picture Frame

Hanukkah Crafts for Kids: Holiday Picture Frame

If you're celebrating the holiday and looking for quick and easy crafts for kids, this fun and affordable little keepsake is a great way to display family memories.

Dad Gets Unexpected Reaction to Terrible Christmas Gifts

Dad Gets Unexpected Reaction to Terrible Christmas Gifts

British dad pranks his kids with bad Christmas presents, but didn't get the reaction he was expecting – and it's pretty sweet.

Simple Holiday Family Crafts to Make with On-Hand Material

Simple Holiday Family Crafts to Make with On-Hand Material

Does your family have paper cups, Legos, plastic spoons or toilet-paper rolls lying around? Transform them into angels, snowmen and even a chimney for Santa!

Bath Time Safety Tips for Babies and Toddlers

Bath Time Safety Tips for Babies and Toddlers

What's the best way to bathe your child? How can you keep them safe in the tub? A pediatric doctor at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit has tips.

Snowman Dessert Recipes: Tasty and Cute Ideas

Snowman Dessert Recipes: Tasty and Cute Ideas

Who doesn't love Frosty the Snowman? Kids will enjoy making – and eating! – some of these adorable and delicious snowman recipes.

Holiday Stamping Favorite Supplies from Stampin' Up

Holiday Stamping Favorite Supplies from Stampin' Up

Crafty company Stampin' Up offers a variety of fun stampers, punches and paper that transform into cool gift tags, cards and other fun DIY projects.

British Mom Sells Breast Milk to Pay for Christmas Gifts

British Mom Sells Breast Milk to Pay for Christmas Gifts

A mom of four from Manchester, England gets $20 for a bottle of her breast milk, which she sells online, reportedly to buy her kids presents for the holidays.

Edit Module
Advertisement
Edit Module
Advertisement
Edit Module
Advertisement