This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.
It can be quite frustrating when children procrastinate on their homework or chores. No matter what you do, you can’t seem to encourage them to be more productive. In many cases, parents struggle to motivate their children because they incorrectly assume that procrastination is due to laziness or lack of discipline.
However, these are often not the reasons why children procrastinate. There are numerous reasons why children procrastinate, and each cause will require different tips and strategies to motivate them again. Read on to learn more about procrastination in children and how you can motivate them again.
Why Do Children Procrastinate?
Many frustrated parents will incorrectly assume that their children procrastinate because they are lazy or not disciplined enough. And though sometimes kids just refuse to do things they don’t want to do, there are actually a few reasons why they procrastinate.
In addition to being uninterested or not disciplined enough, children may procrastinate due to anxiety, lack of time management skills, forgetting the task, or not seeing it as necessary or relevant. As you can see, all these causes are quite different from one another and therefore require different strategies to address.
Tips To Combat Procrastination
Though procrastination can make evenings difficult, there are many ways to motivate your children to continue their work. Here are a few tips to help your children with procrastination.
Figure Out Why Your Children Are Procrastinating
You can’t come up with a good strategy for motivation if you don’t know why your children are procrastinating in the first place. So, therefore, the first thing you need to do is have a discussion with your children. Ask them why they are struggling with the assignment and discuss options that might get them working again. Once you understand what is keeping them from working, you will know which tips will work best to motivate them again.
Point Out The Consequences Of Procrastination
Children don’t always understand the consequences of their actions until they are pointed out to them. This is just a part of growing up and doesn’t indicate that there is anything wrong. Until this point, most of their needs have been handed to them, and their problems were resolved by others. Therefore, they don’t quite understand that if they procrastinate, the task will not be completed.
Therefore, you need to point out to them that there are consequences to procrastination. It could be a bad grade or the fact that their room won’t get cleaned by anyone else. In some cases, having a discussion is enough to motivate them again. However, you may need to resort to allowing them to experience the consequences themselves before they find the proper motivation. Unfortunately, sometimes experience is the best teacher, and a single bad grade is enough to keep them productive for the rest of the school year.
Help Them With Time Management Tools
In some cases, children just struggle with time management. These skills are difficult for even the most productive of adults, so there is no shame in this. For this situation, introduce your children to some time management techniques such as creating a priority list or setting a timer to get certain tasks completed in an allotted timeframe.
Break Down Their Projects Into Smaller Steps
Sometimes children procrastinate projects because they are too big or overwhelming for them to process. In this case, it is important to teach them the essential skill of breaking down tasks into manageable steps.
For example, if they have enormous amounts of homework, guide them to just focus on one task at a time. If they have a report or project to do, point out some starting tasks they can do to make progress on it. Sometimes just focusing on a small bit at a time can take away the anxiety that causes procrastination.
Reward Them For Doing Their Work
Positive reinforcement is a great way to keep motivating your children to work hard. Every time they finish their homework on time or their chores right away, reward them with a snack, some time for their favorite hobby, or even an allowance. This will encourage them to keep doing these tasks in the future and diminish the temptation of procrastination.
Procrastination is a common situation for children and adults alike. However, children are often not equipped with the proper tools and strategies to motivate themselves again. But by having a conversation and deciphering the cause of their procrastination, the two of you can work together to increase their motivation and get them to be productive again. For further reading on procrastination and tips on how to combat it, head on over to BetterHelp.