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Procrastination is a common problem amongst students and in the long run will have a negative impact on their academic and emotional well-being. Procrastination can manifest in various forms, such as difficulty in starting tasks, failure to meet deadlines and failure to prioritise important responsibilities.

These behaviors frequently result in a decline in grades and an increase in frustration, stress and anxiety. Over time, such pressures can diminish a student’s self-esteem, exacerbating their tendency to procrastinate. Procrastination not only frustrates students but also poses a challenge to caregivers who may struggle to understand the reasons behind their child’s procrastination and how they can provide their support.

Here are some tips on how to aid your child in overcoming procrastination.

1. Create a Homework Routine

Structure and routine can help a child who struggles to stay focus or kick start a new task. It is essential to develop realistic routines that enable your child to achieve success and enhance his/her self-assurance.

To assist your child, consider creating a designated homework area at home to facilitate better concentration. Implementing a stable routine that includes starting homework at the same time each day can also help keep your child stay on track. Since students who procrastinate often struggle with staying focused, it’s vital to be patient, start with small and short tasks, and gradually increase the length of homework sessions over time.

An essential objective is to maintain your child’s motivation, engagement and a sense of accomplishment.

2. Stick with the S.T.I.N.G. approach

From the book The Procrastinating Child: A Handbook for Adults to Help Children Stop Putting Things Off, author Rita Emmett shared a great strategy called S.T.I.N.G.

“S”: Select one task you want your child to do. If it is a large, overwhelming job, break it down into smaller, manageable tasks.

“T”: Set a timer in keeping with your child’s developmental level – 5 or 10 minutes if they’re younger, or a longer duration if they’re older.

“I”: Ignore everything else while the timer is ticking. Help them stay focused and free from distractions. Don’t let them start another task until the first one is done.

“N”: No breaks allowed until the timer goes off.

“G”: Give them a reward when the timer sounds. This can be a snack, a break to play outside or special time to read a book with Mom or Dad.

3. Think Smaller Chunks

Children may struggle with procrastination and have difficulty understanding the concept of time when given an assignment. To help them better comprehend and manage their time, use visual aids like calendars and timers which can be effective tools. It is important to start the task with a due date in mind and then break down the project into smaller, manageable tasks with their own mini deadlines. For instance, if a homework essay is due in four weeks, set up a schedule with deadlines for each week’s task (outline, first draft, revised draft and final draft) on the calendar. This will enable the child to have a clear plan and be well-prepared to submit the final paper on time.