A Consistent Learning Routine Can Curb Procrastination
You’re sitting in front of your computer or on your phone right now. Is there something else you should probably be doing? Procrastination. This is a struggle many people experience because there are endless distractions in life. Children discover this pretty early in life and that can cause problems when things that need to get done (like homework, projects, and chores) don’t get done. So we’ve put together a few tips to help you help your child learn to curb procrastination.
Prioritize & Plan
Making things that need to get done part of a predictable routine can help to minimize how much your brain will fight you on it. The longer you put off starting a task, the harder it seems to get started. So, don’t give the brain a chance to trip you up. Encourage your child to get started as soon as they think of the task that needs to get done and at a predictable moment of the day. They arrive at home and know they have homework to do? Get to it. Don’t give them that snack they want until after they’ve already gotten started or after they’ve completed their work.
Children naturally have shorter attention spans than adults, so the key to blocking out distractions is setting up a space free of temptation. Creating an area in the house that is quiet and devoid of technology and other distractions can be key to a successful study session.
While having long-term goals can play a big role in motivation and confidence, having short-term goals can be instrumental in the fight against procrastination. Specifically, if you’re focusing on the goal, you might be less likely to get distracted by all of the other things you might be inclined to wander off to. Help your child set small, incremental goals for themselves for each homework period. For example, instead of talking about “studying for your math test”, try phrasing using the specific goal, “reviewing chapter 2”. One is vague and the other is specific. And if you can focus on a time frame, like aiming to finish by dinner time, this can help motivate your child to get it done. Repeatedly accomplishing these types of small goals can also improve overall motivation as it creates a sense of accomplishment.
A reward can look like a lot of things. It can be extrinsic (external rewards) such as earned time on a device or stickers on a rewards chart. Or it can be more intrinsic (internally focused) like offering praise for work well done. This cycle of effort and praise can help motivate a child, and motivation is one of the greatest tools in curbing procrastination.
A reward can also be a way to bridge one task to the next in the form of a snack break! But take short, planned breaks in between tasks… ideally not in the middle of tasks. That’s can lead to loss of momentum and further distraction.
Pssst! If you’re new to Kumon, most of these “tips” are actually the lessons that Kumon students learn throughout their Kumon journey. Learn more the Kumon Program here.
To read more about how you can help motivate your child through goal setting, read our blog article here.