Everyone procrastinates! Unsurprisingly, even children are known to procrastinate, especially those who are going through their teenage years. Before we get into detail on how to help your kid to stop procrastinating, let us first see what procrastination is and why children have a tendency to procrastinate.
What Is Procrastination?
“I will do it later”. This is commonly heard isn’t it? Everyone puts off things for later.
Likewise, even teenagers try to delay their household chores or their homework to the next day. This is often something that they continue to do simply to further stall the process. In the end, what they continued to put off usually never gets accomplished. This is the perfect example of procrastination.
Procrastination comes in several different forms. These include:
- Putting off tasks to do something less important or something that has less priority.
- Continuing to put off a task until the last minute and then doing it under stressful circumstances. These kinds of people love that pressure that comes from doing a task at the last minute. In fact, this feeling of pressure is the main reason why they often continue to put things off in the first place.
- Failing to complete a task within the given period of time.
Young or old, procrastination is common for people of all ages. However, procrastination is a very bad habit for small children and young teenagers to develop. This is because it can lead to negative consequences for the child or teen such as poor or failing grades in school. Procrastination can also result in an inability to participate in extracurricular activities in their school and in family problems.
It is not hard to see how procrastination can negatively affect a child or teen. The best thing you can do for your child is to help them break these bad habits. There are some steps that you can follow to help your child stop procrastinating. However, before you can properly help your child break this habit, you must first understand why he or she is procrastinating in the first place.
Why Do Children Procrastinate?
Many parents believe that children procrastinate only because they are lazy or lack motivation to do a certain task. While lack of motivation is one of the major contributing factor for procrastination, there are several other factors that contribute to it as well. These include:
- Boredom - they find that the activity is not fun enough. Cleaning your room is certainly not a fun thing to do. Children find this boring and often try to put it off to another day.
- Feeling the task lacks relevance - your child may feel that the current task has no relevance to their future goals. Therefore, they do not show any interest in completing the task that was given to them and continue to put it off.
- Underestimating the task - many children try to delay a task to a later time. This is because they think that it is a small task and will not require a lot of time to accomplish. However, once they start the task, they are often unable to complete it because it was not as small of a task as they initially thought.
- Fear of failure or anxiety - some children put things off because they fear that they might not be able to meet the expectations of their parents or teachers. This anxiety and fear causes them to feel as though they must be perfect in what they do. Therefore, the child spends too much time on one small task to ensure that it is flawless. These types of procrastinators believe that every detail of the task must be perfect. They feel that anything less than perfection will not be accepted by others.
How Can You Help Your Child Overcome Procrastination?
Most parents use rewards or punishments to motivate their children to get their work done. However, these methods are not always effective when trying to get your child to perform a task. Sometimes, you have to find out the underlying reason for their procrastination and the issues need to be addressed.
So, here are some effective ways to help your child beat procrastination.
1. Explain your expectations clearly to your child
Sometimes, your child may not be doing their work or continue delaying it because he or she does not really understand what you want them to do. Whether you want them to clean their room or simply complete a school project, it is always important to make your expectations clear. After explaining it to the child, ask them if they completely understand the task or not. You can also ask them to explain it back to you to clarify any confusion.
2. Motivate your child to work
You can motivate your child to complete their work by letting them have some candy or visit their friend’s house after their work is done. With the prospect of a reward, they will often motivate themselves to work and complete the task that was given to them.
3. Encourage your child to get help when needed
Children will sometimes avoid their work simply because they don’t know how to do it. Perhaps it is a physics or math assignment that they might be putting off because they have no idea about the basics. In such cases, it is important to help your child understand the basic concepts for the task they have been given. If you do not know how to explain these concepts, encourage your child to seek assistance from their teachers or friends. Once they have a better grasp on the subject, they may begin to enjoy it and find the work to be rewarding rather than something to constantly delay.
4. Encourage them to set their own goals
Speak with your child and help them to set short-term and long-term goals. If they wish to attend college, they will become more motivated and will work towards their goal. Teach them to set financial goals, academic goals, and social goals. Once they have those goals to strive for, they will no longer waste their time.
5. Tell them that they do not have to be perfect all the time
Sometimes, the reason behind their procrastination is that they think they have to be perfect in everything they do. Explain to them that they should be aiming for excellence, not perfectionism. Also, they need to understand that it is okay to make mistakes now and then. They do not always have to be perfect. people often learn a lot from the mistakes they make.