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Not Now, Maybe Later:

Helping Children Overcome Procrastination

BY Dr. Joanne Foster

Kids CAN overcome procrastination! Not Now, Maybe Later is the resource book adults need to encourage and support children and teens as they endeavor to become more productive. Dr. Joanne Foster shares understandings about why kids procrastinate, and what to do about it. She informs readers, empowers families, and offers loads of strategies for practical use. This interesting go-to guide will help turn ‘later’ into ‘now,’ and fortify kids’ motivation, effort, and fulfilment.

Dynamic Duo Discount: Purchase Bust Your BUTS and Not Now, Maybe Later and receive $10 off. Click here.

For parents, teachers, children’s caregivers, and families who want to learn how to overcome procrastination!

Not Now Maybe Later | by Dr. Joanne Foster, Author, Advocate for Gifted Learning

Not Now, Maybe Later: Helping Children Overcome Procrastination

By Dr. Joanne Foster

Published by: Gifted Unlimited

Not Now, Maybe Later is written primarily for parents and teachers. It’s a useful resource for understanding children’s procrastination, and it’s a book that readers will refer to again and again. Dr. Joanne Foster shares hundreds of tips so adults can help kids develop the skills and strategies they need to improve their productivity. Procrastination relates to many important aspects of life, such as success and failure; home, school, and community activities; a person’s thoughts and feelings; and motivation.

Not Now, Maybe Later provides information on all of this and more, including straight-forward suggestions for preventing, eliminating, and managing kids’ procrastination tendencies. Families can also read this book together, chat about the many ideas, and put the suggestions to use now, not later.

Although Not Now, Maybe Later is geared for adults, teens who read the book will be better able to understand and address their procrastination tendencies or avoidance behaviour. Moreover, Dr. Foster’s award-winning book Bust Your BUTS: Tips for Teens Who Procrastinate is a useful complimentary resource that’s also filled with hundreds of practical ideas for kids—and for adults, too! (The two books together are a Dynamic Duo for readers!)

Also available as an eBook.


Procrastination is everywhere, like kudzu and athlete’s foot, and, as Joanne Foster makes clear in this original and thoroughly readable book, it’s not always unjustified. But helping parents and other care-givers understand why kids engage in it, and what grownups can do to mitigate it, makes for a terrific addition to the shelf of child-rearing counsel. May we adults not procrastinate in following it!

Chester E. Finn, Jr.
Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University; Former United States Assistant Secretary of Education

Most people who are capable of excellence don’t realize what’s possible because their procrastination, perfectionism, and fear of failure constantly gets in the way of action and performance. Not Now, Maybe Later is a wonderful resource for parents, teachers, managers, and yourself. Don’t procrastinate another moment and learn various strategies to get the best out of yourself and others.

Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D.
Author of Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined; co-founder of The Creativity Post; Scientific Director of Imagination Institute, University of Pennsylvania

Joanne Foster has written a parent-friendly text to help take us into the delaying, and sometimes delivering mind of the procrastinating child or teen—who just went to the web or found some other way to put things off because the Procrastinators Club meeting was postponed. Don’t delay—get a copy ASAP! You’ll enjoy it!

Michael Shaughnessy, Ph.D.
Editor, Gifted Education International, Senior Editor, Education News

In her lively, engaging style, Dr. Foster points out we all procrastinate–some more than others, in different ways, and at different times. This book offers parents and their children positive, practical insights on procrastination, what it feels like, where it comes from and how to work through it. It’s a valuable resource to those challenged by procrastination or just curious about it.

Lannie Kanevsky
Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University

Foster takes a broader view of the topic, asking whether procrastination is a way of being or a way of doing, and affirming that there are sometimes good reasons to put things off. She shows how the strategies and ideas in Not Now, Maybe Later apply to adults as well as kids, describing the benefits for children when their parents work on their own procrastination habits, and share their progress and setbacks with their kids. Illustrated throughout with thoughtful quotes, helpful checklists, and extensive lists of ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’ts.

Dona Matthews, Ph.D.
Educational consultant, award-winning author, columnist Psychology Today

Excellent and much needed resource and highly timely for multiple exciting reasons….Time management is a critical skill that benefits from quality information and dynamic education. Not Now, Maybe Later delivers both, establishing Joanne Foster as a premier Life Skills coach for modern parents. If you are one of the millions of modern day homes in which time management is a source of stress, Not Now, Maybe Later is the solution!

Marlaine Cover
Social Entrepreneur and Founder, Parenting 2.0

Joanne Foster has put procrastination in its place! Her fascinating and unique presentation of the myriad causes and solutions of this common habit gives parents all the tools they need to help themselves and their kids overcome it once and for all. This is a book every parent will want to read!

Sarah Chana Radcliffe, M.Ed.
Author: The Fear Fix and Raise Your Kids without Raising Your Voice

Table of Contents


  • The focus of the book—and why people should not procrastinate reading it

Chapter 1. Is Procrastination a Way of Being or a Way of Doing?

  • Reasons for procrastination
  • Checklist – Procrastination thought probes

Chapter 2. Procrastination: To Do or Not to Do

  • About procrastination: What is it? Who does it? Why and When?
  • Procrastination personas

Chapter 3. Some Ties That Bind

  • About success
  • About failure
  • About stress
  • About self-regulation

Chapter 4. Procrastination and Child Development: Bridging Age Brackets among Young Children

  • Toddlers
  • Early childhood

Chapter 5. Procrastination and Child Development: Bridging Age Brackets among Older Children

  • Tweens
  • Adolescents

Chapter 6. School Daze and Procrastination

  • Struggling – Supporting stragglers
  • Average → Bright – Activating avoiders and busting buts
  • Gifted – Smart beginnings

Chapter 7. Procrastination and Perfectionism

  • Expectations
  • Feeling overwhelmed or concerned
  • Positivity

Chapter 8. Can and Able—or Not?

  • About potential
  • Preferences
  • Making changes and taking risks

Chapter 9. Children’s Daily Avoidance

  • Little worries? Big worries?
  • Messiness! Chores! Homework!
  • A “head” start
  • Goal-setting

Chapter 10. The Five “M”s

  • Mastery orientation: Challenge!
  • Mindset: The effect of effort on accomplishment and ability
  • Metacognitive capacities: The importance of being reflective
  • Motivation: Intentions, interest, goal-setting, and personal progress
  • Meaningful relationships: What matters most?

Chapter 11. Thinking It Through and Resources, Too

  • More practical strategies
  • Success stories and tips from those in the know
  • Directions for future reference

About the Author

A Few Excerpts from the book

By Dr. Joanne Foster


It’s important to try to understand why a person is procrastinating. Being too quick to label someone a procrastinator can further impede his productivity, erode his self-confidence, make him feel less capable, and even devalue his accomplishments. It may make more sense to think of procrastination not as a way out but rather a way around, or another way altogether.
(Chapter 2)
Remember, too, children are all different; some prefer to accomplish tasks quickly and others slowly with ample dawdling. Some children are more productive in the morning; others feel more inclined to see things through in the afternoon or evening. Or tomorrow. Some may be feeling discouraged, overwhelmed, or rebellious. The key is to recognize and pay careful attention to children’s attitudes, influences, preferences, skills, and behaviors.
(Chapter 4)
Procrastination can simply be a way for a child to protect herself from doing something that she believes threatens her sense of well-being or possibly makes her feel burdened and uncomfortable. Procrastination frees up time to think things through. It can be a self-help mechanism that, for some people, provides a measure of containment or control. By modifying the timing and pace of their actions they may feel calmer, and this may be beneficial, especially if things around them seem to be spinning out of control.
(Chapter 3)
How a child fares, and his sense of self, depends on a combination of factors such as previous experiences, feedback from parents and caregivers, and developmental maturity. Children thrive best when given some autonomy within the context of a relaxed but safe and appropriately controlled environment.
(Chapter 4)
Teach children to be respectfully assertive, discerning, and fair-minded. Help them recognize their individual learning needs. Talk with them about how to advocate for themselves and how their own attitudes and behavior can contribute to their problems—or advancement…
(Chapter 6)

Not Now Maybe Later | by Dr. Joanne Foster, Author, Advocate for Gifted Learning

What is the target audience for this book?

Not Now, Maybe Later is geared for parents of procrastinators, and for anyone who wants to help kids understand and deal with procrastination tendencies. Teachers, psychologists, and counsellors will also find abundant strategies to assist children who put things off, have difficulty meeting expectations (their own or that of others), or exhibit avoidance behavior. Families can poke through the book together, and kids can ponder the information and the more than 250 tips that Dr. Foster provides.

What is the main focus of this book?

Not Now, Maybe Later is about procrastination, and what to do about it. How can adults help kids overcome procrastination tendencies? Dr. Joanne Foster has plenty of answers to that question! For example, she delves into children’s ways of being and ways of doing; the nature of success, failure, stress, and self-regulation; procrastination at different ages and stages of development; perfectionism; daily avoidance; how kids can get on track, and the five Ms – mastery orientation and challenge, mindset, metacognitive capacities, motivation, and meaningful relationships. Plus, the author provides resources and a wide range of suggestions that are sensible and doable.

How many pages are there in this book?

There are 197 pages in Not Now, Maybe Later.

Why is Dr. Foster qualified to have written this book?

Dr. Foster has been writing about procrastination for many years, and she has presented on the topic at numerous conferences as well. She has taught about the importance of motivation in multiple venues, including classrooms, teacher-training facilities, parenting forums, professional panels, and various other groupings. Motivation and productivity are two foundational aspects underlying Not Now, Maybe Later, and Dr. Foster has infused integral information on these two key aspects in her work spanning decades.

What supplementary resources can readers find in this book?

The book is organized in a way that informs readers, and then arms them with practical tips. Not Now, Maybe Later is about procrastination AND what to do to overcome it—with suggestions throughout. There are helpful checklists, compelling quotes, and some vivid accounts of children’s lived experiences. The reference section (pp. 165 – 71) has over one hundred useful entries, plus there is a very fulsome endnote section (pp. 173 – 187) addressing material chapter by chapter. Finally, there is a handy index with hundreds of key topics (pp. 189 – 196).

What kinds of reviews has this book received?

Reviews of Not Now, Maybe Later are very complimentary, and include the following comments: “a terrific addition to the shelf of child-rearing counsel,” and “a wonderful resource” and “offers parents and their children positive, practical insights on procrastination, what it feels like, where it comes form, and how to work through it.” One prominent reviewer says this book “establishes Dr. Foster as a premier Life Skills coach for modern parents,” another reviewer compliments her “lively engaging style,” and yet another says, “this is a book every parent will want to read!”

Are there any illustrations or charts in this book?

There are over twenty figures (or bulleted charts) in Not Now, Maybe Later, including a comprehensive checklist of reasons for procrastinating; interesting descriptors of 24 different procrastination personas; tips for finding positivity; dos and don’ts for parents; dos and don’ts for children; success stories; and many other features.

How can I see samples of the content of this book?

There is an “Excerpts” tab on the Not Now, Maybe Later book page on this website.

Is there a book club guide or other online material that supplements this book?

The material in Not Now, Maybe Later lends itself to thoughtful conversations about procrastination, and any of the chapters’ content or checklists would springboard a lively book club discussion. The extensive references and endnotes also lead readers to many supplementary resources. Plus, Dr. Foster’s book Bust Your BUTS is a “next step” and fine complement to Not Now, Maybe Later, empowering kids to take responsibility for their procrastination by understanding reasons for it, and by learning how to effectively address it.


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