Chalkboard with words and tick box - Now or Later

Some children just get on with things. Parents, teachers or their peers ask them to do something and they do it. There are no moans and groans about the task, no procrastination and no need to help the child start a task.

How amazing would that be if all children were like that? Amazing as it would be, not all children are. Many adults procrastinate too. Many children – dare I say, the majority of children – will put off tasks they don’t want to do. They will find an excuse or find something else to do that they tend to enjoy.

For example, if you have a child who is not keen on doing homework they will delay getting started by looking for something to eat, checking in with their friends, deciding that they have to record something on the TV,  etc.  If they just got going then they would have more time doing the things they love.

Five Simple Tips To Stop Procrastinating

  1. Talk to children about your work and having to meet deadlines. Explain the rewards this can bring.
  2. Set a good example by showing your children that we don’t put off tasks we don’t like, are difficult or that take up too much of our time.
  3. If your child is finding it hard to get started with a task, help them to get going by sitting next to them for a short time.
  4. Get your child to work out how long the task should take. They can do the quickest first or the hardest job first. Once they have done one task it’s easier to keep going.
  5. Ask your child why they are procrastinating. What is it about the task they don’t want to do or what is stopping them from wanting to make a start? Some children worry that they won’t be able to do well, so would rather not attempt it.

It’s important to discuss procrastination and give our children the tools to deal with it. It’s a common problem and learning how to deal with it is a useful life skill. Once parents know what the issues are, we can start to challenge and change their thoughts about the task.

To help your child stop procrastinating why not book a children’s coaching session with me. In one session we will get them to do the task and not just think about it.

Read more advice on Building Responsibility for Children and Teenagers

[First published October 2020 | Updated April 2024]