Procrastination is really just a behavioral symptom of another problem or difficulty. It’s often a sign of fear of failure, fear of success, stubbornness, lack of motivation, lack of interest, or simply not knowing how to go about doing something.
If you can recognize the reason for the procrastination, which usually falls into one of these groups, you can figure out how to solve your child’s procrastination problem. These ideas will help you get started with the solution.
Be a Role Model
When you need to do something that you don’t want to do, its’ okay to say “I really don’t want to do this, but this is the time I need to do it.” Then do it, and exclaim “Wow, that feels good to have done that and got it out of the way.” Children live with they learn, and if you show them that you are doing things that you don’t want to do, or aren’t sure how to do, or are afraid to do you can teach them self-discipline to help them avoid procrastination.
Find Out Why
Ask your child why they don’t want to do something. If they give you a reason such as, “I’m just not in the mood.” You’ll need to nip that in the bud. We don’t do things that need to be done because we’re in the mood. What if Mom or Dad wasn’t in the mood to work, buy groceries or drive the child to soccer practice — and then just didn’t do it? Explain to your child that we all have to do things we don’t want to do, but it will feel good to have it done. If they admit they’re not sure how, then teach them.
Set Goals & Prioritize Them
Helping your child set daily and even hourly goals can help them avoid procrastination. If they need to do something and it’s on the calendar broke up into little pieces instead of a large ordeal such as a big report, that might help the child avoid overwhelm and get the report done on time without stress. Children and even teenagers do not always know how to organize things to get them done best. Help them, and if you don’t know how, find someone who can help them break down big jobs into little doable pieces. In case of things that need to be completed right away, consider setting a kitchen timer so the child knows he or she has 5 more minutes to finish their game or whatever the item is.
In The Case of Rebellion
There are times when you’ll find out that your child is procrastinating in order to bring some control into their life. They want to choose when, where and how they do the task you or a teacher has asked them to do and they will fight to do it their own way in their own time no matter what you say or do. The best way to face rebellion is with a system of rewards. If you do this, then you get that. Works great for teenagers who like to play games, or go out with their friends.
Most of the procrastination can boil down to the things mentioned in the first paragraph, and if you can identify the problem you can end procrastination once and for all. After all, it’s not an emotion, it’s a symptom. The most common reasons for children have to do with rebellion, fear of failure, feeling overwhelmed, or not knowing where to start. If you can help your child with these, you’ll have it beat.