Ann Dolin: Hi! I am Ann Dolin. Today we are talking about how to best help your child with homework. Let's discuss issues surrounding procrastination.
A procrastinator is a child who waits till the last minute to start an assignment and often this causes a lot of stress within the family. I have heard of kids waiting till 10 o'clock the night before to complete a research paper that they may have had a month to do or even something as simple as starting all of their daily homework too late at night.
Procrastinators often over estimate how much time they have left to do an assignment and under estimate how long it will take them to get their work done. Just like the title sounds, procrastinators have a hard time getting started. The trick is to work with them to establish what they are going to do for second or third. Research shows that kids get more done, if they do the hardest assignment first. So have them label their assignments in the order of difficulty.
After the first assignment is done, your child may want a break and that is fine, but for the procrastinator, a break often ends up being hours. So use the timer or have them better yet use the timer. Have him set it for 10 minutes and when that timer goes off, their break is ready and then they will know what to do next because they have prioritized their assignments for the day.
Also, procrastinators really need help with long term assignments. They wait until the last minute even to get started. So it's imperative that once they get a long term assignment, say for example, they have a science test coming up on Friday, that they write down incremental due dates in their assignment book. That means that they will jot down "science test that Friday" but then on Tuesday, they may in their assignment book also jot down "put vocabulary words on 3X5 cards", "test self on vocabulary words the next day". Perhaps, the day before they jot down in their assignment book to review the study guide. So everything is broken down into little due dates for them, so that they are less likely to wait until the night before. They have got it written down and they know what to do.
Many kids also benefit from having a monthly calender outside of their agenda book that they use on a daily basis. A monthly calender is great because kids can see the whole month all at one time and they can better budget their time. Anything that's not due the next day, anything long term can also go on the monthly calender as well as incremental due dates. So that the student can see what he has going on in a particular time frame.
Contrite a popular belief, people do not work better under pressure when it comes to homework. In fact, studies have shown that when kids wait until the last minute and have a very short amount of time to complete a major task, they make more mistakes and they are less accurate. So even if your child says they like the adrenaline rush and they work better under pressure, it's not true. It creates a lot of stress and anxiety not only for your child but for your family as a whole.
So I encourage you to work with him to break down those long term tasks into smaller due dates, so it's a lot more manageable. So hopefully, these strategies will make procrastination less of an issue for your child. Next, we are going to talk about specific strategies for the Fidgetor.