We all know of children who have the habit of procrastinating. We see them fail miserably at completing the task they attempt to start and try completing it at the eleventh hour. If this habit is not changed it could be very stressful for the child and parent.

Parents: You can help your children. Firstly, we need to understand the cause. It’s not always the case that your child delaying things is related to laziness or not being motivated enough to do their tasks. Parents and teachers need to be aware of these issues before they remediate:

  • Boredom: Most children need a good reason to be engaged in an activity. The task needs to be fun enough for them to take interest in it.
  • Lack of time management skills: A lot of the time, children leave things till the last moment when their work can easily be finished well in time. But they fail to learn this lesson even when things do not go as per their plans.
  • Lack of discipline: Children today, face a number of distractions and so, it is hard for them to prioritise what is important. They fail to keep up with their plans and end up facing the consequences.
  • Fear of failing in their tasks: Some children believe that it’s better to not try than try and not succeed.

Once you figure out what is preventing your child from finishing his/her task in a timely manner, you should probe some more to know what it would take for you and your child to overcome the problem of delaying things.

  • Incentives for doing it right: If children whose primary motivation for doing something is some kind of stimulation, then reward them for starting and completing their work on time.
  • Talk to them about their fears: Children who are afraid of failure might just want to talk to someone about it. Let them know that trying is much more important than succeeding and that if they never tried, they’d never know what they are capable of.
  • Divide huge tasks into smaller goals: Children who are overwhelmed by big projects or even exams, often face the problem of not knowing where or when to start. Parents must help them by breaking these larger tasks into smaller and more achievable goals.