Children seem to at times be master procrastinators. They try to make deals with you, beg and plead, and if all else fails, cry, so that you will let them put off what they don’t want to do now for later, and then the same thing happens when you tell them that later has come and that they have to do the awful, dreaded task now. When it comes to homework and studying, procrastination can really be a bad habit, and one that can be very detrimental to your child from an academic standpoint as well. You, as the parent, need to teach your child the importance of making the most of their time, and that if they go ahead and get their homework and studying done, sooner rather than later, that they will have more time for the things that they want to do, and you won’t be yelling at them about doing their homework. You have to help your child learn to prioritize, and accept the fact that just because they don’t want to do something doesn’t mean that they can put it off forever, or that if they put it off long enough, it will just disappear.
Once your child becomes a teenager, they have many things that they want to do, much more than work on their schoolwork. They may be involved in sports, music, or just like to spend time with their friends. It is great that they have outside interests, as long as they know how to handle them appropriately. If your child is old enough to use one, you might want to consider purchasing a planner each year when you buy school supplies, so that you child can easily keep track of assignments, due dates, and other important things. By writing everything down, there will be no room for the old excuses of I forgot, or the teacher didn’t tell us that.
Make certain that your child knows that you will be keeping in touch with their teachers to make certain that they are completing their assignments and turning everything in on time. You may also have to create a rule about homework and grades, something to the effect of slipping grades mean no more extracurricular activities until the grades improve. Also, make certain that you don’t over schedule your child. As parents, we want our children to be involved in sports, dance, cheerleading, etc., but you have to keep it realistic. If you start to feel overwhelmed by all of the events your child is in each week, then odds are pretty high that your child is stressed out as well, and it may be time to eliminate a few activities. Don’t wait for your child to tell you it is too much, as they often won’t say anything out of fear of disappointing you.
If your child comes home with a big project due for school, make certain that you help him. You can help him break down the one large project into smaller tasks that can be completed each day, so that everything gets done on time, and so it doesn’t end up being a last minute, rushed job that will end up getting a bad grade. You may even want to try to be completed a few days ahead of schedule, just in case something unexpected comes up, and your child is unable to work on the project. Let your child know that procrastinating when it comes to large projects, whether in school or later in their careers, can set them up to fail, and that it is important that they understand and stay focused on getting the task completed.
So, it may not be easy to get your child to break the procrastination habit, but it really is essential, if you want them to be successful academically, and later, professionally.