Procrastination is generally known as the act of delaying or putting off tasks till the last moment or even past their deadlines. Human beings have been procrastinating for centuries. Simply put, it is the force that prevents you from following through on what you set out to do.
Children may put off tasks, homework or other duties simply because they don’t understand what it is they are supposed to do. If a child is unsure about what they are supposed to do or are not well equipped to tackle something, it’s most likely they will not take it on
Sometimes a child may simply not want to do something because of the fear of doing things wrongly or badly. It’s best to motivate or teach them how to do things and help them build confidence at an early age to avoid this fear of not being perfect which may lead to procrastination.
Sometimes kids may simply put off things because they have better things to do, like playing with friends, watching television or other activities.
Doing things on time involves lots of planning and organization, these are generally known as executive functions. Executive function is a set of mental skills that include working memory, flexible thinking and self-control. We use these skills every day to learn, work and manage daily life. Trouble with executive function can make it hard for us to focus, follow directions and handle emotions among other things.
When kids struggle with executive function, it can make it hard for them to manage their time, so it is very important to spend time with your kids. Here are three common trouble spots:
• Trouble with working memory makes it hard to keep information in the mind long enough to plan and complete things.
• Trouble with focus can side-track kids from starting tasks.
• Trouble estimating time means kids aren’t sure what five minutes feels like compared to thirty minutes. This can be especially common in kids with ADHD.
Challenges in these areas might make it hard to start and finish tasks. Children might not know how to plan or leave enough time for work.
There are a few simple ways to deal with procrastination in children. Here are a few-
It is important not to insist that your child should complete their homework immediately after coming back from school, this however might not be the most productive time for your child to do their homework. Instead talk to them about their day at school and if they want to take a break or want to play or if they want to start off with their homework. It is important that they know it is okay for them to take a break and start with their homework later- then they are more productive.
COne should try and identify as to why your child hasn’t started their assignment or homework, are they well equipped or do they need help with organizing or time management.
It is our duty to help our kids succeed when we help them identify what they need to accomplish, it does not mean that we tackle assignments for them, but it might mean we take them to buy necessary supplies so they can get started.
If a task appears too overwhelming or when there are multiple tasks to complete it may become too much to manage. Putting out a step-by-step outline to complete the task or making smaller assignments of a large project makes it more manageable and it is less likely that the child will procrastinate.
Striving for perfection leads to stress and encourages procrastination. We should be realistic with our children and not expect them to think that they must score a 100% in every assignment. Especially during the early years, we should be real with kids and want them to enjoy school and the privilege of learning, not labour over perfect grades.
It may be a good idea to sometimes help your child determine together how much time they may need to finish off a particular assignment and then set a timer. Knowing that he will get a break after a predetermined time, he will be more committed to begin the work. It may also be a good idea to set a timer for kids especially because it helps them develop consistent study habits as they grow up.
We should encourage children to indulge in activities that interest them most and not push them to do everything or take part in every sport or other activities. We should try and prioritize their desires to create a balanced schedule that gives them the time to start and finish off other tasks.
We should try and avoid procrastinating ourselves, kids watch our behaviour and copy what we do.
Learn to congratulate your child for their effort and not the result. This will help him understand that it is important to make a start and will boost confidence in him.