Among the bad habits that can ruin a person’s productivity, procrastination is the most problematic. And it is a matter of greater concern if kids develop this habit from a very young age. As parents, it is a responsibility to take the necessary steps to stop them from nurturing this habit.
Here are a few Steps To Stop Kids From Procrastination
Setting false deadlines
We always function better under pressure. So, train your kid to complete his/her work much before the stipulated time. For example, even if the school project is due in two weeks, ask them to complete it in 6 days.
This way, your kid will not have the time to relax and waste time, thinking they got a lot of time. You are tricking them into believing that if they want, they can complete the work earlier, with better proficiency.
Creating the perfect space for working/studying
The ambiance of a specific place may be discouraging for your kid to study/work in. Therefore, try creating the appropriate environment for them, where they are comfortable and hence more productive.
Avoid letting them study in rooms where people are talking loudly or watching TV since it would be difficult for them to focus. Have a separate room filled with books, maps, and motivational posters that encourage the kid to focus more rigorously on what he/she is doing.
Give them a star
It is very easy to please kids. Even the simplest of things can make them happy. So, promise that you will give them stars if they complete the homework on time or finish a particular chore. Parents are the kid’s first supporters.
Your support and appreciation, in whatever little way you express it, will mean a lot to them, and they will start working more dedicatedly and sincerely instead of just lazing around. This will eventually prevent them from procrastinating.
Make a to-do list
Leading a disciplined life has its specific benefits. If you can successfully incorporate the habit in your kid initially, they will follow this path throughout their life and will always be energetic and dedicated to their task.
So, make a to-do list for your kid every day and ask your kid to follow it from morning to night. This way, they are never left with enough time to waste or just sit around, and they are always ‘on the run’.
Using the concept of SMART targets
Though it is a workplace term, this is also practicable in the case of a kid. SMART is an abbreviation for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based. Ask your kids to set short-term targets to achieve while keeping in mind that they must be realistic and countable.
For example, your kid may set a goal- I’ll study 5 hours a day. When they are successful, they can see the results themselves. The process is a great way to avoid procrastinating.
Keeping aside some time for relaxation
Avoiding your kids from being lazy doesn’t mean you keep them on such a tight schedule that they do not get time to relax. This is an incorrect approach. Because your kids will eventually be tired and exhausted and will start feeling suffocated.
Spare some time for their recreation and allow them to relax but while learning something or doing something creative. The main idea is not to waste valuable time or spend too much time being unproductive and lazy.
Don’t be too hard on them
If you notice that your kid is procrastinating, never berate them or scold them. You need to understand that as humans, it is obvious to make mistakes, and being kids, they are still in the learning process.
Comfort them, try to understand their problem, and handle the matter smartly. Tell them that it’s okay and they always have the scope of doing better. Identify the root of their problems, discuss it with the kid, and chalk out a remedial measure.
Giving them rewards
Rewarding your kid for their achievements, no matter how big or small always acts as an incentive for them to do better. Also, this doesn’t mean that you shower them with costly gifts they probably don’t need.
Develop the mentality in your kid that even the smallest of things is enough to put a big genuine smile on our faces. Gift them a book when they get good grades or a chocolate bar when they finish their homework on time.
Teach them the value of imperfections
Your kid needs to learn that he/she has to do the work with complete dedication of their energy and time. But, it doesn’t need to be perfect. Teach them that imperfections are okay, and you may not always get the precise results of your efforts.
Often, in an attempt to make a task flawless, kids fail and then ultimately end up not doing it at all. What matters most is that they are putting in all of their efforts.
Let music give them company
Music is therapy. So, while your kid is doing a chore/task that he is unwilling to do, put on some music that will create the mood and help him/her to be more productive.
Also, you can give them the incentive of letting them watch their favorite TV show/cartoon only when they complete a task on time. This will help them to focus on what they are doing, and they will finish it with more ease and dedication.
Blocking distraction elements
Identify the things that distract your kid and make him want to laze around, doing nothing. For example, playing video games means the kid just sits in one place, hooked to the phone or laptop screen, and doesn’t do anything productive.
As a parent, you must make sure to block these factors immediately. Also, kids should not be introduced to the charm of social media when they are young. Addiction to electronic gadgets will make the kid keener toward procrastination.
Finishing the difficult tasks urgently
If your kid develops the tendency of putting away the harder tasks and avoiding them till the last moment, this will affect his determination and productivity very badly in the future. Encourage him/her to finish the tasks that are most problematic and challenging.
When they complete such a task, their enthusiasm is boosted, and they will never again fear doing a task. Also, after completing the difficult tasks successfully, the other ones will seem simpler and feasible to them.
Teach them to break their targets into easy parts
When a kid faces a difficult task, he is overwhelmed in the first place. He/She looks at the entire matter to be intimidating. So, teach them to manage the task efficiently by breaking it down into several parts and doing it step-by-step.
For example, if they have to complete a difficult project, ask them to collect the necessary materials and information first, arrange them according to convenience, and then set down to doing the project through notes and points.
Kids must constantly reflect on their activities. Unlike adults, they must understand the effects of what they are doing and if it is helping or demotivating them. Teach them the importance of evaluation in life.
Their accomplishments must not make them proud, but it should be an impetus for them to work harder and not be unproductive. Think for means to make them bring improvements. Even if they are resting, they can use this time to think about their activities.
Making them aware of the consequences
Kids must understand the concept of procrastination and the demerits it can pose for them. It would be wrong to avoid discussing the matter with them. Explain it to them properly and let them be aware of what consequences may befall them.
The unproductivity, laziness, lack of motivation- everything is a demerit in their character. When they understand these concepts, they will always try to avoid getting into this bad habit and will not make mistakes due to unnecessary procrastinating.
Making them aware of the advantages
Kids need to learn how to look at the optimistic side of everything they do. So, along with teaching them the demerits of developing procrastination, also tell them about the advantages of being productive.
For example, if they finish their homework earlier, they can play with their friends or watch TV for some time. Tell them why it is important to be active and dedicated to their work and how the work is done better when done with full involvement.
Learning to take small steps
If your kid tries to complete his/her tasks in a hurry, they will never be able to function properly. Teach them to take small steps- one at a time. They would not end up being irritated and leaving the task completely.
Encourage them to take the first step and then progress on the further steps. Not being invested in a task with complete dedication of mind and body is one of the many reasons that people end up procrastinating.
Connecting your kid with what they want to become
Let your kid have some aspirations and dreams of their own to fulfill. They must have an idea of what they want to become in life. Ask them to visualize themselves in their future and how it is important to work hard to achieve that.
Setting that long-term goal will help your kid to anticipate their probable success, and this will enthuse them to always work hard and never waste valuable time and energy on something as meaningless as procrastinating.
Communicating with the future self
No matter how motivated or productive you keep your kids, and they are bound to procrastinate at some point in time. That is not wrong. But, they need to know that they can use that time to improve themselves in the future.
Ask them to write a letter or record a video for later use, stating how this procrastination is harming their life and activities. This way, when they review these conditions, later on, they will avoid repeating the same mistakes.
There is nothing better than always being prepared beforehand and organized. Try to develop this habit in your kids at a very early stage. This will help them largely in their older times.
Teach them to plan things. Better than making a to-do list in the morning, ask them to decide their plans for the day the night before. Everything may not go according to their plan, but at least they will have a rough idea of their upcoming activities.
Set time limits for work
When your kid knows he/she has to finish their work within a stipulated time, they don’t get the scope of being inactive and relaxed. So, set time limits for everything and reduce the time limit as much as possible to see how they function.
Appreciate them for their success and tell them that they will improve further in the future. If they fail to do it, give them a second chance and encourage them until they achieve the target.
Spending minimum time for an unwanted task
Kids will always have to do a particular chore/task that is dreadful to them. In that case, let them practice doing that work for a very negligible time- not more than 10 to 15 minutes.
Set a timer and don’t let them be indulged in the task after that stipulated time. This will help them to perform the task and take steps towards completing it, but they are not over-stressed by it due to spending much time on it.
Being an accountable partner to them
You can be a great supporter and guide to your kid’s way to overcoming procrastination. Be an accountability partner to them and let them tell you about their targets and deadlines and help to accomplish them.
When they have someone to whom their goals are beholden, it becomes a matter of prestige and self-respect to them, and they are most likely to do it with better dedication and responsibility. This can be a great way to help your kid’s development.
Teach them the concept of proper timing
The most important thing about being productive is to learn the value of time and know how to effectively use your time for activities. Every chore must be done in a stipulated time, and you should not waste your time doing something unproductive or unnecessary.
This concept must be incorporated in kids so that their mentality is thus developed. Let them decide how they want to complete a task and how much time they think must be spent on it.
Employing the 3-2-1 procedure
This is an excellent way to develop productivity and awareness in your kids. The process is that when you begin the countdown from 3- 3,2,1- they have to leave whatever task they are doing right then and start working on a specific task that you instruct them to do.
Perform this activity often so that your kids get into the habit of being trained to the countdown and acting accordingly. This will drive your kid away from procrastination.
Therefore, as you can see, there are several methods that you can apply to prevent your kid from developing the habit of procrastination.
They are simple, effective and results are instant. Choose whatever method suits you and your kid and apply it accordingly. It is better to avoid developing the habit in a kid rather than remedying it later on.