Have you ever caught your dear son or daughter doing homework post-midnight, in the last hour, with anxiety all over their face? Or, are you familiar with “I’ll do it tomorrow!”? Well, then you can say your child has been a victim of PROCRASTINATION!
When they’re putting off work at home, it is most likely they’re doing the same at school, with studies, and possibly a few years later, at work. Convincing yourself with their persuasion may be an emotional choice, however, in the long run, your loved one may turn self-destructive through dallying. High time you played the "parent card," isn't it?
Here we provide an insight into how you can help these children being their guardian.
Let’s consider this scenario - if your little one talks about having a stomachache to avoid homework, in some cases it is possible that he or she is having pain for real, and not just making up an excuse. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to identify when kids are pretending vs. when they are occasionally postponing tasks for valid reasons. After all, you wouldn't want to become the martinet.
In like manner, it’s vital to recognize when your child is truly doing procrastination. There can be schoolchildren falling into two different categories based on their pattern of delaying. First, the ones who keep the chores for later, but manage to accomplish just in time. Although these youngsters are not likely to work unless it’s the last minute, they somehow do not lack the willpower to fulfill their duties.
Second, children who don’t tend to care if they fail to carry out a task as required. They often end up leaving every job incomplete. Only then you can make any further move when you have spotted where exactly does your kid fit in.
Understanding WHY to Put an End to Procrastination in Children
Thoughts like "He will get rid of this habit as he grows up," or "My 5-year-old's career does not depend on when she does her homework" may at some point cross your mind. But, in reality, a lot of things are intertwined with your child’s lack of sincerity in studies, postponing assignments and hyperactivity to catch up in the final minutes.
Poor Academic performanceIt is needless to state that procrastination can result in poor academic performance. Not only for the students who do not complete book work and practical work but also for those who hurry to reach the end mark when the time is running out. The second of the two are prone to making errors in their leaning, consequently, not getting an up-to-the-mark score.
Lack of LeadershipChildren who put off things will eventually lack qualities of leadership and working in a team. It is pretty much self-explanatory that a student who is preparing at the last moment for his or her own assignment, will never be able to lead a group of others. They may even dump their workload on someone else as grown-ups while working in a group.
The habit of piling things up to finish later often bring about a significant lowering of the self-esteem of a young person, especially teenagers. They may often feel they lack the capability of performing certain tasks whereas the only reason they couldn’t do it for was that they were doing procrastination. Sometimes, they tell themselves, “There must be something wrong with me.”
The lack of confidence and self-questioning only result in an endless loop where they continue to avoid work and be more broken day by day.
Endangered CareerThe youngsters will never reach their life and career goals. Either they will give up at some point, or they will not be working hard enough. Growing up, the children who delayed every task will waste many opportunities.
Take it that you’re in a game where you have 60 seconds to collect as many coins as you can. You take the very first coin at the 59th second. You can only imagine how many coins you must have missed?
Now imagine your child getting done with his or her assigned work only when the time reaches the finishing line. If only had he or she completed the work early, the advantage of other opportunities could have been taken throughout the time. Same goes for their careers in the future; negligence may lead to the loss of several opportunities.
Stress and DepressionPulling off an entire assignment in one night or cramming right before an exam, or any similar incident creates a lot of pressure on a kid’s brain. It doesn’t just make it harder to cope up with studies but also ends up in stress.
The frustration from unsatisfactory performance, nervousness and immense pressure may even result in depression in adulthood.
Could Turn into Cheats!Once distressed and unsure about their own abilities, children may choose a wrong path to look for success. This is most common in the case of children from 11-18 years of age. Recurrently, they may lean forward to unethical ways of passing a test.
This trait ultimately integrates with their personality as they grow up. Even in their jobs in the future, they may end up taking dishonest shortcuts.
Overall, childhood is the best time to prevent the permanent transplant of habits associated with procrastination. Before school or any other institution, it is only a parent who can guide their children on the right path.
Providing the Support for Procrastination
Know What You're Dealing with
Do not confuse your children for being lazy as they are doing procrastination. Dig deeper- know the reason which causes the tendency in your child. Is it because they find a subject uninteresting, or too hard? Or are they confident to complete it just in the nick of time? Simply maybe studying isn’t as ‘fun’ as playing games?
Pointing out the difference between “I don’t want to” and “I don’t think I can” is necessary. Reading may seem as unengaging and unfun as cleaning the room to most kids. In that case, a discussion with your child on the relevance of education to his or her current or future goals is crucial. On the other hand, your child may struggle to figure out how grammar works or to solve certain math problems. It is, then, time to switch into the coach your kid needs. Sometimes, even when young ones are good at something, they underestimate how long it would take to finish the task. Thus, they save it for later. In this situation, kids must be taught the value of time, discipline and how they can organize their time.
Your actions depend not on the behavior of your junior, but on the reasons behind their certain behavior. Therefore, it’s imperative to understand your little one.
The Brighter Side
Make your children feel motivated, not negative about themselves. Let go of the procrastination in the past and teach them self-compassion. Instead of asking your children what they did wrong, ask them what could make them proud of themselves? This develops a sense of positivity in the kids, creating, also, the confidence to achieve something.
Let's take it for example, suppose, you instruct your kid to make a note every night of all the bad things he/she has done. It may develop a sense of realization in them, but, it doesn’t inspire them. Instead, they may end up thinking that they’re not good enough.
On the contrary, if you teach him or her to note down the good things done throughout the day, that encourages them to repeat those particular actions, as well as to make the list even longer by the day! At the same time, it leaves them feeling constructive about themselves. Same goes for academic work, the more affirmative they are, the more fueled they will be to complete an assignment.
One Step at a Time
Could you teach your little one walking in one day or did you try to? No, right? First, they learn to crawl, then they slowly stand, they attempt and fail to walk, and after that come the baby steps. Similarly, they cannot grasp everything at once when it comes to studies. Tell your child it is OKAY not to do an entire homework at one go. Doing little by little, learning little by little, and breaking down a task is not only going to make a topic easier to understand for your junior but also going to make studying way less boring!
You may think if you break a task into smaller chunks, you can’t teach children to manage time as it is going to take much longer to finish. Imagine asking a youngster to write a ten pages assignment in an hour. The annoyed face and impassive response are not quite hard to picture, are those?
Alternatively, if you tell them to write only two pages in 10 minutes, they will not be as uninterested. Surprisingly, the latter will even require lesser time to complete the assignment. In fact, by setting deadlines for each fraction of work, you are training them to allocate time for certain parts. This is how they can learn to prioritize between duties and to distribute time among those.
Be a Friend
Spend time with your child. Check up on not only his/her studies but also other interests. Often being too scared of a parent leaves child indifferent towards a lot of things, including education.
Although making kids feel -studying will get them the desired privilege- may work, it does not build the enthusiasm to study or work hard. Instead of rewards like "you get to play games after you finish homework," make it "let's do your homework and then we shall play together."
Things to Modify
Take a Breather, Technology!
Tabs, mobile phones, laptops, television must have been great rescuers when you needed to distract your infant. Good old days when you could play a catchy chorus or your favorite rhyme on your device and halt the baby’s cry. Unfortunately, addiction to such electronic devices is one of the major reasons why children are doing procrastination. Games, songs, videos, are undoubtedly much more compulsive than reading and writing. According to statistics, 22% of children using cell phones and tabs spend less time with family, friends or schoolwork.
Therefore, as a parent, you should prohibit a continuous access of youngsters to electronic gadgets from an early age. Completely restricting the use of technology by children is not preferable, as there are plenty of diverse things they get to learn from it. Nevertheless, the idea is not to turn it into a habit or to make your child depended on it. Make these gadgets accessible only for a limited amount of time per day.
If your child is not listening to you and using a device too frequently, getting a bit strict can be beneficial.
The ‘Heroic’ Pull-off
Children of varying ages often like to live on the edge. The adrenalin rush of a crisis moment is the only way to activate them. Often, they’re self-assured to complete a project in the eleventh hour. So, they do not see the necessity of finishing a task beforehand.
However, it is a big risk to take which they do not perceive. Ever heard the tale of the rabbit and the turtle? Exactly! Over-confidence of winning in the final moment even after resting half the time makes the rabbit lose a challenge as easy as pie to him.
That’s the lesson you have to prepare your kids with. You can have a guest over on that very day before submission of your child’s assignment. Or the kid may feel unwell the night before school. Making them aware of this fact, and also that one is never too early to complete studies, is essential.
But, discussions often may not have an impact on a large number of children. If that's so, a smart move can be to set up your own ‘fake' deadlines. For example, if a project is due on Tuesday, inform your child that you're going to have some family time on Monday, and he or she has to do it before Monday. In that way, they are facing the ‘challenge’ that motivates them, as well as they’re learning to not rush at the last minute. This practice, over time, will help them evaluate the perks of working in advance.
Goodbye, Unrealistic Expectations
Apprehend your child’s limits. Don’t expect him to be the master of everything!
You cannot expect your child to be the class topper when probably, he or she doesn’t want to. You may expect extremely well performance from a student who has a consistent academic result. But, you can’t expect someone who is already struggling to get their homework done in time to bring home an outstanding score. Thus, make sure it’s the effort that counts, not the grades.
After all, your expectations are supposed to inspire your children to achieve, not to let them down in their own eyes.
The Space Matters
Asking your off-springs to constantly behave in your way can be frustrating for them. It could be another reason behind their procrastination. You can guide them to mend their ways and study on time, but you can't force them to do it when you want. You can inspire them, support and motivate them, but not dictate. Dictating will just end up making them distant from you. Once you have organized it for them, they need their own space to settle things.
You can’t look forward to your young man and woman opening their books and solving every academic exercise right as they come home from school every day. Creating tons of pressure on kids may, in fact, make things turn the other way. Not only a sense of dislike towards parents could develop, but it could also tear apart children’s enthusiasm towards education and career from the root in an extreme scenario.
Is It Mere Dilly-Dallying?
Most cases of chronic procrastination are caused by reasons discussed previously and can be dealt with support and certain change of attitude in parents. Yet, very few cases can include children with ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a neurodevelopmental disorder.
11% of American children of ages 4-17 have ADHD. This disorder can be directly linked to the prevalence of procrastination in kids. There is no definitive symptom for ADHD; rather, it is a matter of observance that how intense a particular sign can get.
When a child forgets about a project because he or she is lost into the world of video games, you could say that they’re just putting the unfun part off for later. On the other hand, if a kid is noticed to get distracted or to have a hard time to focus on studies even with no other activity and has restlessness, hyperactivity, disorganization- it is time to consider. Children with ADHD will be forgetful also about other chores except academic.
Under the circumstances where you feel your little one shows the symptoms and needs attention, you have to take extra care. ADHD in childhood is not untreatable. In fact, you could neutralize the symptoms with a bit of carefulness and behavioral intervention. However, for more intensified cases in adults, medication could be needed. Even a dyslexic child could be a victim of procrastination in many cases.
To prevent children with this condition from forgetting homework, that is to put an end to procrastination, the following steps can be taken.
Making a list of the things they have to doIf your child is frequently forgetting assignments, the best way is to use visual cues. Writing a note about what are the tasks they have been given from school and keeping it at the most accessible place, such as the computer table, bed table, or maybe pinning it to the fridge.
Addressing the timeWhile leaving the notes, marking the time at which they have to do it will also make it easier.
You can leave a note for the part of a homework that has to be done in the morning on the breakfast table. So that, right after having the meal, he or she can get a reminder to start working.
Make necessities readily availableAfter preparing themselves and hoping to start their assignment, not finding the pen, pencil, or eraser will stress them out. It will as well make them lose some time in the searching process. All the effort to not divert their attention will go in vain.
If a little extra effort by the guardian is given to provide them will all the necessities beforehand, the trouble will be much less.
Using an actual reminderAlarms, or timers, can be a good option when you suspect that the little one has been absent-minded about what the time is. You just have to take the timer when they’re about to begin the task and set it according to the deadline. Or, for a project, they are supposed to work on at 4 pm, set the alarm at 3:58 pm.
Children with ADHD need a helping hand to cope up with the ongoing. By being extra careful toward your kids, you ensure that any condition does not rip them off the success they deserve.
Parenting has its different approaches. What works for one parent may not work for another. For some guardians, being strict may work. Some prefer to rather build an understanding relationship with the child. Even so, when it comes to forbidding your child to procrastinate in studies, keeping in mind the very basic formula will always help you map out how you want to work this out.
Equip your children with your support by connecting with them, making them think and feel positive. At the same time, restrict certain activities that must be causing them the tendency to postpone academic tasks. Clarifying your expectations is also necessary. Which means, they should balance all of the vital elements to achieve the best outcome.
Nevertheless, parents must remember children learn from what they see. Thus, it is critical to conserve an environment from which they can learn. The importance of developing good habits and organization in your child from an early age is also inevitable, because, practice makes perfect.