How to stop your child from procrastinating | 10 tips to overcome procrastination - India Parenting Tips

Thursday, October 4, 2018

How to stop your child from procrastinating | 10 tips to overcome procrastination


Mom: “Have you cleaned your room?”
Son: “I will do it after some time.”

Mom: “It has been 2 days now. When will you clean up the mess in your room?”
Son: “I’ll do my chores later!”
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How to stop a child from procrastinating?

This is the usual daily conversation that I have with my son when I find my son acknowledge and accept tasks without acting on it. This is what you call procrastination. It is indeed a painful thing to sit and watch your children being a victim of procrastination without knowing how to help him or her and stop this illness for good.

Before finding out ways to deal with procrastination, let us know first what actually it means. Procrastination means to put off tasks as pending that needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of avoiding to complete immediate assignments or activities and delaying it even at the last moment. Children often procrastinate tasks and carry on activities that are more pleasurable to them rather than those tasks that need immediate attention.
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What is procrastination?

Procrastination is a part of human nature. As Dr. Joseph Ferrari, Professor of Psychology at De Paul University says,” Everybody procrastinates but nobody is a procrastinator.” Almost 20 % of the population have more chronic problems dealing with procrastination like not paying bills on time, not able to complete tasks assigned to them, not able to meet the deadlines and so on. This results in tremendous disappointments and embarrassing situations.

For children who constantly procrastinates tasks they often fail to complete the assignments on time. Homework becomes a really stressful job. Teachers complain to be irresponsible and careless. Parents overall face a lot of hardships and challenges.

Therefore, I plan to come up with 10 proven tips that would surely help to stop your child from procrastinating.

10 tips to overcome procrastination

#1. Reward instead of Punishment

Our tendency is to judge and label our children in extremes. It has to be either 100 % or 0%. Well, that is not always true. Even if we find a 70 % progress on the child we constantly harp over the fact why that 30 % is not done. Instead of acknowledging the progress and success of accomplishing 70 % our goal becomes to make it perfectly 100 %. This is a very bad attitude and behavior as parents that definitely needs a change. We need to appreciate and reward the child for his 70 % progress which he or she had done as per his or her ability. That should not be overlooked. Only when you accept and acknowledge the success of the child by whatever percentage it has managed to secure, you could expect an urge to do even better. It gives a morale boost to the child.

#2. Be Realistic

We expect everything and anything from our children. Our unfulfilled dreams, aspirations everything becomes the sole target for our children to achieve. However, what we need to understand that procrastinating is a habit that needs time and effort to control and stop. Nothing can happen overnight and we need to be realistic to have expectations accordingly.

I suggest that you trust Ferrari who says that instead of breaking your head off trying to do a task with 100 % success, try it to be at least 80 % successful. As long as you are working on it and manage to complete the task by 80% you are successful. Many a time children procrastinate tasks as they feel it too difficult to achieve the perfection. Tell your child that his or her little effort matters to you and you acknowledge that to him

#3. Allow Space, Freedom, Choice, and Responsibility

Many of us are like helicopter parents constantly hovering around the child and recording his or her actions and reactions. We also try to take their task as our burden and try to take away the freedom of the child in the process to explore and learn things by themselves.

Also, read the article: What is Helicopter Parenting
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Allow space, freedom, choice, and responsibility

We need to allow ample space to the child to learn to choose what he or she wants to do rather than always being told and advised what has to be done. Let him or she decide and choose what he wants to do and take responsibility for the outcome. Do not try to help him or her in the process. This would teach the child that if he does not do a task in time he would have to face the consequences of the outcome by himself or herself. It could be his or her school project or assignments or simple homework.

#4. Customize Your Parenting Technique

Check your parenting technique. Each child is different and unique. Hence your parenting technique should be uniquely customized to his or her requirement. If your child is an introvert, your ways of approaching him or her in addressing his or her procrastinating problem should definitely be different than a child who is very socially active and vocal.

#5. Goal Setting and Prioritising Tasks

When there is a bigger task or goal to accomplish, it is always a nice idea to break it down to soluble parts to make it digestible. Often youth child might find it difficult to achieve bigger goal or tasks that you assign to him or her. For example, ‘clean your room’ seems to be a bigger goal to achieve. However, pick up the littered papers from the floor or clean your bed when we prioritize the task things become easily achievable.
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Goal setting & prioritizing tasks

Also, you need to sit down and work out with your child to set his or her goals. It should be realistic goals and short-term goals that needs immediate attention. Like for example if he or she might have many targets or tasks to accomplish. It could be a maths homework, a science project, a poetry to learn or even a play to enact. Ask your child what is the deadline for each of the tasks. Make a chart and pin it up on his or her room with tasks and deadline. Ensure to suggest him workable action plans and give him or her choices to apply whichever he or she finds it easy to start with.

#6. Let Your Child Experience Failure and Learn its Consequences

Failures are the pillars of success. This is an age-old proverb and it exactly applies to this situation. You need to allow your child to fall down in order to understand what failure means.

We as a parent always want our children to win and never face any difficulties. Unfortunately, that does not happen in reality and it is not healthy either. Do not try to do things for him or her. Let him or her struggle his way out, face consequences of his procrastinating attitude and learn meaningful lessons in the whole process.

#7. Ensure Specific and Realistic Tasks

Tasks need to be specific and concrete for children to understand completely and then frame strategies on how to accomplish it without any difficulty. Often children fail to break down important tasks and hence choose the easy way out by procrastinating the immediate task and doing something else which is more interesting and achievable to them.

As parents what we can do here is to break down the tasks into simple achievable, concrete and realistic goals that the children can easily do without any help from anyone else. Example put your lunch box to dishwasher immediately after coming home from school without any delay. This is an immediate and realistic task that could be easily achieved. You may pin reminders near his door or the wall which is easily noticeable for him or her to quickly do it without procrastinating it for a later time that never comes. Thank him or her immediately when he or she manages to complete his task without procrastinating.

#8. Procrastination is not Laziness

Many parents confuse procrastination with laziness. This is absolutely a false connection. Procrastination has nothing to do with laziness. When you give a certain task to your child and he or she simply does not do the job and keeps lying down or remain idle without doing any activity; it is nothing but laziness. However, when you ask him or her to do a certain job like changing his clothes or cleaning his bed and you find him or her doing something else which is more interesting to him or her like playing games or reading a book, it is procrastination.
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Procrastination is not laziness

If your child constantly procrastinates, you need to help him out first to identify and realize his issue. Self-awareness is very important. When you find your child procrastinating his or her task allow him the freedom to do so. Let him or she then take the sole responsibility of the outcome of procrastination. It could be his or her important assignment at school or college that he or she would be a graded or his or her commitment with his friends for some vital events at school or college. Let him or her face the challenge when actually there would be no time left to delay anymore and he or she would need to finish the due in stress and chaos. When your child faces the consequences, he or she would become more self-aware of his procrastinating behavior and would try to come out of this habit himself or herself.

#9. Procrastination is a Learned Behavior

It is the opinion of many psychologists that procrastination is learned habit that we pick up from people close to us. It could be your friends, siblings, family relations or relatives. Almost one-fifth of all adults and more than half of all students often procrastinate although they do not accept it. As parents of children with the procrastinating habit, we could use one technique called visualization.
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Procrastination is a learned behavior

According to this technique, you need to sit with your child and help him or her to visualize the outcome and achievement what could be the result once the task assigned to him or she is done in time without procrastinating. This was he or she would be able to visualize the victory, the achievement and above all the relief it gives to the mind after you are done with your task in time. This is a powerful motivating technique that could help to stop your child from procrastinating.

#10. Patience and Understanding

Any change of behavior or attitude needs time. Nothing can change dramatically. When you are a parent of a child who constantly procrastinates tasks, you got to be loaded with enough stock of patience and understanding which is a key for successful parenting technique. Keep working out short-term plans and celebrate the small successes with your child by rewarding him or her from time to time and appreciating any minor positive step towards fighting against his or her procrastinating behaviors. This way slowly but more steadily you may be successful to stop your child from procrastinating tasks.

That’s all for today. I hope my article was meaningful to you. Do drop in your comments if you have more helpful tips for parents of children who constantly procrastinates tasks.

Cheers,
Happy Parenting.

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