Helping Your Kids Not to be Procrastinators

I am certain that some of us are just born procrastinators and some are born doers. All of us procrastinate in some areas of our lives if we are honest about it. If you are one of the procrastinators with children you know from hind sight how important it is to teach your children a better way.

I have two children, one who is brilliant but a major procrastinator. She could be the next Madam Curie but if that position happened to come up I am sure that she would tell you it could wait until tomorrow. She chooses to procrastinate on everything. My son on the other hand is a selective procrastinator, he only puts off what he hates, and believe me that is a long list indeed.

I used to be more like my son in my youth, probably because we share similar intellects. We have selective intelligence as well; we choose what we are smart about. But that is entirely another issue all together. But as I have gotten older I realized that if I did all the easy tasks first I was usually too worn out or bored to tackle the hardest one last. I made a point of tackling the one I most dreaded and then the others were a piece of cake. So this is something that I did my best to instill in my children’s lives as they were growing up.

Very few people that I have met personally do not procrastinate. They either fall into my daughter’s category or my son’s. My daughter knows exactly how long it will take her to get a project done for school and still make an A. She sometimes misjudges and gets the timing off and ends up pushing herself far more than she would like to but I have talked to her about it and it is her choice. What can you actually say to a child that gets excellent grades but puts things off like that? I have poised the question to her that if she could squeeze by with a ninety or ninety-one why she would not rather put a bit more time in and get the one hundred?

I never should have said it; I really did not know what it would cause. She tried it my way and ended up with a stress disorder. When I discovered it we went back to the way she was doing it before. It worked for her and putting the work off until the last minute somehow comforts her. Since I am not gifted with a brain like hers it is hard for me to understand how it works. I have decided to let it go. I found out that there are people in this life that do better at the last minute because perhaps their brains go into overload if they meditate on something for too long?

When my girl started grade school she carried a back pack with folders for different subjects. She was not the most organized child so every day when she would come home we would sit down with her back pack and sort things out and actually get the homework into the right folders and see what we had to do that night. I told her about my theory of getting the hardest thing done first and how it helped me to conquer it first. She agreed with my opinion and did it willingly. The problem came when she had a project that was due a week or two weeks down the line. Since she was so sharp I trusted her timing. She would say it was no big deal and she would get to it a couple of days before it was due. One particular time I remember her telling me it was easy so she put it off till the night before. She found out there was way more to it than she thought and we were up well into the night and I ended up finishing it for her. We agreed this would never happen again if I consented to finish it. She was good to her word and that was the last time. She learns from her mistakes which is always a good thing.

My son is seven years younger than my daughter and when they say it takes a tribe to raise a child they are absolutely right on when it comes to my son. It took every bit of my skills, my daughter’s help, my spouse, and even my mom chipped in on this boy. Not only did he procrastinate but he refused to do paperwork. Anything hands on was fine and even math was not a big deal but reading, writing, and grammar were not on his list of to dos.

I did the identical thing with my son from the beginning of grade school that I did with my daughter. He would happily sit and watch me organize his back pack and homework and lay it out for him to do. He refused to do the hardest thing first and would half do the easy things and then throw a fit when it came time to do the hard one which was always something to do with reading, writing, or grammar. It took too long and he did not want to do it period. So we had an ever bigger problem than just procrastinating at this point. We had a full rebellion on our hands.

After over a year of arguing, tears, and all out frustration and fatigue we decided to call in the big guns; we needed help. We did not want to see school work tear up our family’s peace and harmony any longer. We found a tutor and not just any tutor. We found the Mary Poppins of tutors, a lady we discovered at our church. She was a grade school reading specialist and was a loving and kind person but she took no tom foolery. My son could not get around her and get his way; he knew she was no nonsense. We had her over a couple times a week and on the days she was not there and he started giving us a hard time we simply told him we were going to call her up and have her over. Since she generally spent a little over an hour with our son doing much more than just his normal homework this is something he did not want so he got down to business pretty quickly.

This was something that it took for my son to learn not to procrastinate, sort of an or else situation but it pretty much stuck with him after a couple of years. Some of us are just a little slower to learn that there are things in life we must do and we can not put them off. Others of us know almost exactly the time it will take us to do an adequate job (or some people a more than just adequate job) and allot just that much time and are completely comfortable with that.

As parents we need to study our children and watch their patterns and make sure they are not getting into a bad habit from the time they are very young. Some of them may perform better as procrastinators. Some of them may not want to perform at all but it is our job as parents to find out their modus operandi and make some adjustments. As with my children one of them needed minor tweaking but the other needed major repairs. If we catch these possibly problematic areas early we can help our children to be successful down the line.

Author Bio:

Rachel is an ex-babysitting pro as well as a professional writer and blogger. She is a graduate from Iowa State University and currently writes for babysitting. She welcomes questions/comments which can be sent

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