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What to Do When Your Child Procrastinates

Procrastinating in children

Sometimes getting your child to complete a task is like pulling teeth. They dawdle until 7:59 pm to get ready for their 8:00 pm bedtime, take their time eating breakfast before getting dressed for school, and avoid tidying up their playroom. Finding something more enjoyable to do instead of doing what you ask of them is a classic way that kids procrastinate. Procrastination is a learned habit that can develop into a bigger problem if you aren’t pragmatic about addressing it as a parent. Here are some ways to combat procrastination in your child:

Be Encouraging

It’s easy to get frustrated when your child procrastinates. Try being more conscious of the way you ask your child to do things; nagging or anger might get results now, but it doesn’t correct the behavior in the long run. Instead, show them what happens when they get something done by outlining fun things they have time for once a task is complete. For example, by getting ready for bed earlier than usual, you have more time to read their favorite stories.

Reinforce Routine

Kids respond well to routine because they know what’s expected of them, and when it’s expected. Teaching structure through time constraints can be helpful once your child is able to tell time. Make sure to reward your children with positive reinforcement when they stick to a routine.

Be Specific

Have you ever noticed that you procrastinate more nebulous tasks? When a task seems too big to handle right now, you probably opt to complete other smaller tasks instead. This is how kids think when you ask them to clean their room, or do their homework. If their room is very messy, the task may seem monumental. Instead, try asking them to pick up and sort clothes on the floor. The more specific you get, the more likely they are to choose that task over another.

Choice and Responsibility

Depending on their age and maturity, enabling your children to choose which tasks to complete can enhance their sense of responsibility. At the end of the day, it all needs to get done, and leaving it up to them which tasks get done first can help them establish a flow that works for them.

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