How to Combat Procrastination
June 6, 2011 ~
Procrastination can be a big problem any time, but it is especially detrimental as the end of the school year approaches. If you have a child who struggles with procrastination, there is no time like the present to try and combat this tendency. As the summer approaches, try these tips to help your child keep grades high and finish the year strong.
Identify Causes Keep a close eye on your child and how he or she handles assignments. If you notice that your child seems to finish all of his or her daily homework assignments but struggles on bigger assignments, it may be because he or she is intimidated by the workload. Or you may notice that your child spends a lot of time on the harder assignments but puts smaller tasks off until the last minute.
Each child procrastinates differently and for different reasons. Some are afraid to fail, while others have a hard time knowing where to begin. Know what to look out for, and you will be able to support and encourage your child to fight through his or her procrastination.
Discuss Fears Talk with your children about the anxieties associated with their schoolwork. Procrastination is often the result of children being afraid of performing poorly. Explain that no one is perfect, and learning is not always easy. Sometimes your child will struggle, and he or she needs to learn to expect this so that procrastination doesn’t continue to hurt him or her academically.
Address Consequences Whether your child is on time or late with an assignment, make sure you address the consequences of each. Show your child that he or she received a poor grade on a book report because he or she turned it in late. Let him or her know if she or he had met the deadline for the project, it would have meant a better grade. If your child gets ready to leave the house earlier than expected, you can say, “Because you are early, we can go out for ice cream on our way there.” Whatever the consequence, good, or bad, always point it out clearly so your child can see it and learn from it.
Create Timelines Timelines can help children see the work they need to do and help break up a big job into smaller ones. Print out the month on a piece of paper and mark out one hour several days each week for your child to focus on a project. When your child does small amounts of work each week toward a large project he or she will feel more confident and continue to make progress toward completing the job on time.
Provide a Jump Start If your child has a large project due or a difficult assignment that is causing feelings of procrastination, lend a hand in the beginning and slowly let your child take over the reins and finish the task. If your child struggles later and needs some help, you should be there to offer assistance, but don’t do the work for him or her. It is critical for genuine self-esteem that your child finish what he or she starts. If you finish your child’s work for them, they won’t get the same value from the experience.
Procrastination is a sneaky, tricky and destructive force. Stopping this force as soon as it rears its ugly head can be the best thing for your child.