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Overcome Procrastination: Five Suggestions for Kids

Procrastination can affect a child’s achievement, relationships with family and friends, happiness, creativity, and more. Yet kids still procrastinate—for many reasons. Here are 5 strategies they can use to overcome procrastination tendencies.

Every day children face all kinds of challenges: good—bad; expected—unexpected; big—small; difficult—easy; worrisome—pleasant; many—few; required—superfluous. It can be hard for kids to keep up with the demands of daily life. Tasks and activities may seem daunting or confusing, and there are loads of distractions out there. Parents, teachers, or others often have expectations that are pressing. Plus, children need (yes, need) ample time to play, daydream, explore, invent, exercise, and relax. So much to do, and so little time! No wonder kids end up putting some things off, or even avoiding them altogether.

The following 5 tips are geared for children and teens, to help them meet demands, and use time wisely and productively. (However, adults who procrastinate might find the tips useful, too…)

1. Ready, set, go!

Think about and ask yourself intelligent questions: How can I adjust the extent, nature, or pace of the task so it’s more manageable? What preparations should I make in order to get started? What’s the timeline? With whom can I collaborate? What should I do if I get bogged down along the way? (Find someone to support or help you if need be.)

2. Be purposeful. Prioritize.

Determine what really has to be done and what you can set aside, for now. Gather whatever information or material you require to get going. Share ideas, and take advantage of resources. Do step-by-step planning. Try to be flexible so if those steps have to be adjusted at some point you’re able to adapt. Don’t let setbacks or concerns cause you to back off or procrastinate. There’s an old saying, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf!” Commit to staying on track.

3. Think about your feelings and attitudes.

Make an effort to switch from a negative, off-putting frame of mind—for example, from doubt, fear, or disdain about a task—to a more positive outlook, and to certainty (“I can do it!”). Then move onward to enthusiasm (“I can do it really well! And creatively, too!”) Be confident in your abilities, including being able to overcome procrastination. Tap your strengths, including your resolve. Customize whatever it is you have to do, including using your knowledge and imagination, so the experience becomes …

Dr. Joanne Foster

Dr. Joanne Foster, an acclaimed author and educator, has dedicated over 35 years to gifted education and child development. With expertise in psychology and special education, her work empowers parents and educators, fostering creativity and high-level learning in children and teens. Dr. Foster has written countless articles, and several books—the most recent being Ignite Your Ideas: Creativity for Kids.

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Summer Learning Lapses? Relax!

Summer Learning Lapses? Relax!

During the summer, parents are often concerned whether their kids will retain the knowledge they’ve acquired over the past school year, or whether they’ll experience a learning lapse. Here are some considerations and suggestions for parents.