Overcome Procrastination! 5 Suggestions for Kids

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Synopsis

Procrastination can affect a child’s achievement, relationships with family and friends, happiness, creativity, and more. Yet kids still procrastinate—for many reasons. Here are 5 strategies they can use to overcome procrastination tendencies.

Every day children face all kinds of challenges: good—bad; expected—unexpected; big—small; difficult—easy; worrisome—pleasant; many—few; required—superfluous. It can be hard for kids to keep up with the demands of daily life. Tasks and activities may seem daunting or confusing, and there are loads of distractions out there. Parents, teachers, or others often have expectations that are pressing. Plus, children need (yes, need) ample time to play, daydream, explore, invent, exercise, and relax. So much to do, and so little time! No wonder kids end up putting some things off, or even avoiding them altogether. 

The following 5 tips are geared for children and teens, to help them meet demands, and use time wisely and productively. (However, adults who procrastinate might find the tips useful, too…)

1. Ready, set, go! Think about and ask yourself intelligent questions: How can I adjust the extent, nature, or pace of the task so it’s more manageable? What preparations should I make in order to get started? What’s the timeline? With whom can I collaborate? What should I do if I get bogged down along the way? (Find someone to support or help you if need be.)
2. Be purposeful. Prioritize. Determine what really has to be done and what you can set aside, for now. Gather whatever information or material you require to get going. Share ideas, and take advantage of resources. Do step-by-step planning. Try to be flexible so if those steps have to be adjusted at some point you’re able to adapt. Don’t let setbacks or concerns cause you to back off or procrastinate. There’s an old saying, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf!” Commit to staying on track.
3. Think about your feelings and attitudes. Make an effort to switch from a negative, off-putting frame of mind—for example, from doubt, fear, or disdain about a task—to a more positive outlook, and to certainty (“I can do it!”). Then move onward to enthusiasm (“I can do it really well! And creatively, too!”) Be confident in your abilities, including being able to overcome procrastination. Tap your strengths, including your resolve. Customize whatever it is you have to do, including using your knowledge and imagination, so the experience becomes more enjoyable.
4. Stay true to your needs, interests, and preferences. They’re what make you uniquely you, and they will continue to change and develop. It’s good to aspire to do things that will let you stretch yourself in different ways—mentally, physically, creatively, emotionally—so don’t feel apologetic about carving out time and opportunity to do just that. Be planful, and schedule this in thoughtfully.
 5. Remember that effort does matter. There are benefits to being in control of your responsibilities and putting forth hard work because ultimately that’s how you’ll get things accomplished. Moreover, other people may be counting on you. Learning to develop accountability for your actions will help you to become more successful, fulfilled, caring, and independent. Always strive to be the best you can be! And don’t put that off…

Additional Reading and Resources

"Beyond Intelligence: Secrets for Raising Happily Productive Kids" by Dona Matthews and Joanne Foster, House of Anansi Press, 2014.  www.beyondintelligence.net

"Not Now, Maybe Later: Helping Children Overcome Procrastination" by Joanne Foster, Great Potential Press, 2015. 

For a series of excellent podcasts featuring experts who discuss a wide range of important topics relating to modern family life, visit Brandie Weikle’s site thenewfamily.com And this is the link to episode #36: A New Way of Thinking about Intelligence for a New World where the focus is on how parents can help kids build capacities, strengthen creativity, balance demands, and make the most of enriching opportunities within the flow of everyday life. 

There are lots of helpful time management strategies in “It’s about Time: Transforming Chaos into Calm, A to Z” by Mitzi Weinman (iUniverse, 2014). The book is written for adults, but kids and teens will also benefit from the ideas presented. 

Here’s a link to the Parenting 2.0 Series of Public Service Interviews featuring authors who share their expertise on helping kids develop life skills. For the segment on how to manage, prevent, and eliminate procrastination, click here and scroll down to June 25th, 2016. 

For more information on encouraging children’s motivation, check out the following webinar: "Motivation: Revelations Plus Strategies for the Long Haul" (J. Foster; May, 2016) – accessible through SENG's online resource library at www.sengifted.org.

Tags: education, joanne foster, procrastination, psychology

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