The majority of children seem to always create a bit of disorganization and chaos, no matter what they're doing. Whether it's jumping from one task to the next, leaving their toys all over the house, or forgetting a few of their books at school, they're simply not always focused.
You want your children to remain focused while performing their tasks, even if they're as young as preschool age. So, when it comes to getting them to do their homework, is it even possible?
The answer is yes. While only a handful of children appear to be actually organized, the rest seem to learn the art of organization over time. However, with a bit of practice and some help, almost any child can develop a successful approach to beating procrastination and getting things done, even children in daycare or child care.
Where do these skills start or come from? In the home, of course. Even though many parents aren't always 100% organized, they can still teach their children the values of staying on task.
For most children, almost any task can be as simple as a 1-2-3 step process. Consider the following:
Getting organized is the first step in defeating procrastination. What supplies or essentials are needed in order to complete the task at hand?
Remaining focused until the task is done means learning to ignore distractions and stick with the task until it's finished.
Finishing up means getting the task done, incorporating any finishing touches, and checking all work. For example, it's crucial to put papers in their correct folder and back inside the backpack in order to be ready for the following morning.
Once your child knows and makes a practice of these three simple steps, it will be easier for them to apply it to their everyday life, making them increasingly independent. Also, getting their homework done in a timely, organized manner will naturally carry over to other tasks as well, such as performing assigned household chores.
Overcoming procrastination simply takes a plan and putting it into practice. In time, your child will know how to effectively and consistently get stuff done and therefore feel more self-assured and competent overall. Children tend to feel more proud and self-confident once they succeed at accomplishing their assigned tasks. Also, they can see the rewards of their efforts by experiencing more free time whereby they can do what they like.
Defeating procrastination does take some time and effort. Therefore, it's best to start with easy things and go from there. For instance, every morning have your child make their bed. Once they've mastered this small task on a daily basis, it will instill a sense of pride and accomplishment in them so you can then go on to encourage them to do even more difficult tasks. However, don't throw too much on them too fast, since it could potentially discourage them and therefore stop their progress.
Just getting started seems to be the hardest part for most people in general, not just kids. And, it's not always about "work before play", but rather starting small and continuing to grow. Keep in mind that putting too much stress on a child to do more or be more will only invite procrastination instead of overcoming it.
Perhaps more importantly, teach your child to be kind to themselves and to forgive themselves. Self-awareness is the key to ending procrastination and other negative behaviors as well.
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