Today we’re going to be discussing how to develop routines to help our children avoid procrastination. As this is such a broad topic, we’re going to focus on how to really look at our current schedules to assess where they time is being spent so that we can make the necessary changes. It doesn’t matter if you’re a teacher or a parent, you’re both going to be working on this because I’m approaching this from the perspective of both sides.
Before I continue on, check out this free mini training for teachers and homeschooling parents where you’ll learn about 3 keys strategies to move your children from procrastination to productivity, especially during this time when we have a lot of assignments that are going to be due soon.
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But first, let’s get back to the topic at hand, shall we?
Based on a lot research, I have come to realize that when we ask teachers, parents or homeschooling parents to help their children with procrastination, the focus is so heavily on homework routines, which is important, but we often forget that procrastination is not always a result of boredom or lack of understanding. Many of us forget about a really important aspect of our children’s lives: everything else that’s going on in their lives besides homework. Our children are multitalented. They have so much going on in their lives. That’s great! Right?
If you know me, you know that I’m a teacher. I’ve had so many conversations with children about their multitalented lives. Some, especially my younger ones, have come to me in tears about it.
OH MY GOODNESS!
I just said multitalented and cry. How does that even work? It’s because nowadays, there’s so much of pressure for children to achieve, not just in school but in every aspect of their lives. Now I’m not blaming parents for this because let’s face it, our little ones sometimes plead with us to join these activities, don’t they? You just want to be there for them and to give them what you either had or probably didn’t have growing up. I admire you for it.
The issue here, though, is that some children, not all, have a lot going on. Too much actually. We’re going to address how to manage this in a bit because before we get there, I want to talk to about the flip side of this as well.
We have children who don’t, for a variety of reasons, participate in any activities, which can also have a negative affect on their lives.
What does all of this have to do with procrastination? EVERYTHING!
Now let’s start with the children who has too much going on. I’ve had little ones who are in activities almost every day of the week. This is not just an outside of school event but an inside of school one as well. These children tend to eat on route to an activity and see their parents briefly during the drives back and forth. When they get home, do you really think homework is what’s on their mind? Absolutely not! They need some downtime and then they need time to see their parents.
I had a child who cried because she didn’t get to spend time with her mom unless they were in the car driving but she didn’t want to disappoint her mom, so she chose not to say anything. That’s heartbreaking. When this is going on, focusing on any school related assignments is not on their minds and understandably so. It’s frustrating for everyone involved though when a child, who is so capable, is unable to keep up in class.
We also have those who don’t participate in any activities. Some may be introverted. This lack of participation though causes a whole wack of issues, such as anxiety over time because some children may be unable to make friends or they feel left out. In this case, group projects can be a chore for many of them. If loneliness is an issue, a feeling of low self-esteem is where their mind is at and not being productive.
You and I both know that there’s a time to do activities and a time to just be. So let’s get down to it.
I’m going to start with the teachers first.
Teachers, if you have children who are struggling, I highly recommend, before contacting the parents, having a conference with your student. Grab a paper and some colored pens or highlighters and talk to your students. Ask them about ALL of the activities that they’re participating in. Start with the school activities as that will probably be fresh in their minds since they are sitting with you in school and then look at their out of school activates. Create a schedule that outlines all of the activities along with approximate travel times and then, let’s not forget that with extracurricular comes additional practice, so make a note of that as well.
Remember too, the children who don’t participate in anything. You and their parents know them. Look at their interests and see if they can find a way to participate in an extracurricular activity. They may need some hand-holding and encouragement in the beginning but in time, as they develop the necessary skills to interact with others and find new friends, your involvement will lesson and then gradually end.
This may seem like a lot of work but most times when we call up a parent and ask them for support in regards to having a child work on a task, the assumption, especially for older children, is that they’re working on it because they may have an hour before bed time at night to work on it. This might be time that they’re really tired or need to spend with their family. Most parents know that their children are busy but don’t really understand the ramifications of it until they see it on paper, especially when you include practice and family time.
The reason for this plan to be created is not to attack a parent but to see if the child is super busy, if there’s something that can be moved around to a different year or let go of entirely. The goal is to help children find a health, home, school, extracurricular and relaxation time balance.
If you’re a parent, I highly recommend you create a schedule like that and have open conversations with your children. When you create a schedule that outlines practice time or additional worktime to ensure success in the extracurricular activities that your children are participating in, you’ll be able to see where all of your child’s spare time is being spent.
It’s okay to give your children some unscheduled time.
They can work on school work, do chores, or work on a creative project. You’d be amazed at what a child can do when they are given the time to be bored. After a lot of whining and some temper tantrums, they’ll find ways to occupy their time. Children are resilient and creative.
I watch my son find joy in playing with a cardboard box and my students discover calming ways of being creative by doodling. They amaze me when I give them the time and space to be creative.
We want so much for our children because we love them but remember, the most important gift we can give our children as teachers and parents, is our time, our love and the space for them to create and discover on their own. When they are in this space, they’re not too tired or too overwhelmed or too anxious or too alone to procrastinate. They will be productive.
In the beginning, you may need to provide your children with incentives to get their work done and you may need to set timers so they can enjoy an incentive after they spend some time working, but over time, you can decrease your involvement in providing incentives and using timers as it will become intuitive.
So Let’s Recap:
- In the beginning, we talked about two different scenarios: children who are involved in a lot of activities and those who are not involved in much, if any.
- We then looked at it’s relationship to procrastination
- We talked about how to see where the time is being spent to see if activities can be moved around, omitted entirely or if a child needs to participate in extracurricular activities if they aren’t involved at all.
- We looked at the importance of having time to be bored
- Finally, we discussed how to ease our children into being more productive with the time that we open up for them.
I sincerely hope you try out this method.
Thank you so much for reading this article. I would love to work with you motivate your children to work on assignments that are almost due. Join me for the free training video where I’m going to show you how you can help your children move past their mind blocks, create a very quick strategic plan and start implementing it.
Ready to get started? CLICK HERE.
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Thank you so much my friends. In the mean time, remember to create, experience and teach from the heart.
All my best,