How to Help Your Procrastinating Child

Procrastination is a common problem, and children are more prone to it because of their low self-control, which often prevents them from getting things done on time.


Various reasons may cause procrastination. These reasons include a lack of discipline, low self-efficacy, improper planning, and poor time management skills, all of which lead to children's procrastination. So, what can parents do to help their procrastinating child?


1. Establish good discipline

 Discipline is something to be set early on in life. Children usually choose to play rather than work or study hard, so establish discipline and introduce good habits to a young age who can follow the guidelines.

Guidelines include not playing until necessary things are done, packing school bags and clothes for the next day's outing before going to bed at night, tidying up their rooms regularly, etc. Once the habits have been developed, children will find it easier to stick to the rules without needing much self-control.


2. Break down work into small tasks

One of the reasons for procrastination is that children find work too difficult and subconsciously try to avoid it. Help them to divide the work into small tasks and then focus on one task at a time. They will soon find that the job becomes more manageable and will be more willing to take an active role in completing it instead of putting it off.


3. Reduce distractions

It can be challenging to get things done with a lack of focus. To ensure children finish a task in a timely manner, help them stay focused by removing distractions such as TV programs or video games, as they will be more easily distracted because of their generally curious nature. Keeping a clean and tidy desk/room to create an ideal working environment is a must-do.


4 Make a detailed schedule

Teach your child to make a detailed schedule for a big task or project with a deadline for each item, so they can complete each item according to the specified deadline. Set milestones along the way so they have a better idea of whether they are making good progress and can make corrections in time, even if there is a slight delay.


5. Get the first step started

The philosopher Lao Tzu once said, "a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first single step". However, our young people often find something difficult and don't start until it blows up. They must understand that putting off what needs to be done on that day until tomorrow will affect the next day's work. This will inevitably lead to a vicious cycle and may cause delays in each subsequent task. But usually, once they start and commit, they'll find a way to finish it. So let's guide them to get the first step started.


6. Reward positive behaviour

To help children overcome inertia, offering small rewards will do the trick by effectively motivating them to complete the work without delay. Rewards don't necessarily need to be materialistic; a round of board games with friends or an extra TV break with parents also serves as an impetus to encourage good behaviour. In addition, recognising when your child is making progress and giving genuine praise for a job well done can boost self-motivation.


Although procrastination is common among children, it is not insurmountable. As long as parents are proactive in devising strategies to help their children, they will be able to break out of the bad habit of procrastination and gradually develop good behaviour in completing work on time.


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