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When Your Child Procrastinates: 4 solutions to help motivate them

If your child procrastinates, there are some things you can do to help.

Procrastination – it’s a word we’re all familiar with. But it’s not just about being lazy. In fact, it often stems from anxiety or a lack of certain skills. As parents, it’s crucial to understand why kids procrastinate and how to help them overcome this habit.

Psychologist Dr. Todd Corelli shares how to best parent when a child procrastinates.

Find more advice from Todd at drtoddtalks.com.


4 Things You Can Do to Help When Your Child Procrastinates

It’s vital to understand that procrastination is not synonymous with laziness. At its core, procrastination often boils down to anxiety or a lack of specific skills. By grasping the root cause, parents can approach this issue more effectively.

To Nag or Not to Nag

Nagging is a behavior most parents inadvertently slip into. However, it doesn’t work, and here’s why. Procrastination is rarely a behavioral issue; it’s often tied to anxiety or skills gaps. Nagging won’t magically impart these skills or make anxiety disappear. So what’s the alternative?

Strategies to Combat Procrastination

  1. Just Start: Like adults, kids can benefit from this simple approach. If a task seems daunting, tell them to give it a try for just a short period, say, five or ten minutes. Starting often leads to building momentum, and the task becomes more manageable.
  2. Pomodoro Technique: This technique involves focusing on an unpleasant task for a set amount of time, typically 25 minutes. After the session, they get a short break. Kids can adapt this to suit their needs and tolerance levels, even if it’s just a 10-minute focus burst.
  3. Break Tasks Into Chunks: Encourage your child to divide a large task into smaller, more achievable segments. This approach can make the task seem less intimidating and more doable.
  4. Immediate Rewards: Rewards are powerful motivators. The key is to offer immediate, not future, rewards. Choose something that your child genuinely desires, whether it’s playing their favorite sport, working on a hobby, or enjoying a treat.

It’s essential to remember that every child is different, and what motivates one may not work for another. Tailor the strategies to your child’s unique personality and preferences.

Procrastination is a common behavior that can have lasting effects on a child’s self-esteem and mental health. Instead of nagging, parents can help children overcome procrastination by understanding the underlying causes, teaching practical skills, and offering immediate rewards. These strategies can set kids on the path to becoming more productive and confident individuals.

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