As a parent, you probably know the procrastination struggle is real! Your child waits until the last minute to start a project or homework, and they might not seem to understand the importance of doing things promptly. Getting your child ready and out the door on time can be stressful. It’s instinctive for us all to avoid doing something that gives us no joy or a task that doesn’t interest us. For children, procrastination on homework assignments or long-term projects can undermine their ability to be academically successful. Here’s how you can help your child break the procrastination cycle.
If you ask your child why she doesn’t want to start her homework and listen to her response, you may be surprised by her answer. Children don’t have the same perception of time as adults. Students often overestimate the length of time needed to finish a task and are overwhelmed by the assignments they face. They feel it is impossible to accomplish, choosing to avoid even starting it. Time them on how long it takes to finish their spelling list, math homework, etc. Breaking the workload down into manageable chunks will help them better understand time management.
Another reason your child may be procrastinating is fear. Some children feel that nothing they do will live up to their expectations, the teacher’s expectations, or yours. Some experience extreme anxiety, striving to be perfect. You need to talk with your child about realistic expectations and help them understand that procrastination is not the way to be successful. Don’t punish your child for this behavior; help them work through it.
Children who procrastinate regularly tend to be very short-sighted. They may not understand that their grades can be affected by turning in assignments late or that putting off homework or chores will ultimately take away time from doing things they enjoy. Put it in terms that are meaningful to your child.
Set a schedule
Routines are important and help to define expectations for children. Establishing a designated time for homework to be done each day will help your child stop procrastinating. Build in break times so the assignments don’t overwhelm them. As an example, you can say: “Let’s get your math homework done, and then you can have a snack.”
Set the right tone for doing homework. Whether it’s at the kitchen table or a desk in their bedroom, students need to be able to concentrate on the assignment and feel that you are providing them with your support. It’s important that you not be distracted by your phone or the TV in case they need help.
The frustration of opening a backpack to find papers stuffed in, broken pencils, textbooks, etc. can make starting homework a problem for children. Help your child organize her backpack with folders designated for homework, messages from school, etc. Let her give input into what she thinks will help her stay organized. At home, ensure the homework space has the tools needed to complete assignments. This helps avoid delays in starting homework by reducing the temptation to wander toward other distractions in search of supplies.
Praise and reward
Your child needs to know that his efforts are paying off. If he finished a project before the due date, point out how exciting it is to have free time and not be stressed about getting it done. Each time homework is finished in the allotted time, express your pride in his excellent time management skills. Reinforcement of positive behavior teaches children to set attainable goals for themselves and builds time management skills. Procrastination, however, negatively impacts their desire to succeed.
Our Orlando private school, located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, encourages parents to provide children with guidelines that will help them succeed during the school year and beyond. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.