How to Uncover the Source of a Student's Procrastination

Posted by Erica Warren on

Procrastination is a common problem that parents report when their children are meant to do their homework, but they just don't feel like doing it.  This can be an overwhelming feeling that tempts kids into putting off or delaying assignments that require attention.

Solving Student Procrastination

What Does Procrastination Look Like?  

Students usually procrastinate because they do not understand the relevance of an assignment, struggle to understand the material, or they don’t know how to get started.

Procrastination rarely has anything to do with laziness or carelessness. In most cases, there are deeper issues that lead to procrastination problems.
  • Poor academic self-concept
  • Fear of failure
  • Attentional difficulties
  • Perfectionism
  • Lack of cognitive energy
  • Problems understanding the academic content or the steps to complete a problem
  • Inadequate organization skills or executive functioning problems
Executive Functioning Competency Screener Logo EFCS

    What are Some Strategies that Can Help Students that Procrastinate?

    1. Offer supportive, gentle, and kind assistance.  Additionally, be mindful of the words you choose.  
      1. Shed words and phrases such as no, incorrect, wrong, sit still, pay attention... 
      2. Now. embrace words and phrases such as:  that was close, give it another try, almost, let's look at what you did right, let's take a brain break, let's take some deep breaths together so that we can gather our attention.
    2. Stop calling it homework!  Just the name can trigger pouts and feelings of discontent.  Find another word to use such as assignments or activities. 
    3. Nurture a growth mindset and try to reward the act of learning instead of grading and degrading a student on what they don’t know.
    4. Try to bring the fun back into learning. Place more attention on enjoyable projects, learning games, and cooperative lessons.
    5. Nurture resilience by teaching students how to bounce back after adversity and learn from their mistakes.
    6. For some students, a timer can help keep students on track.  Set the timer for both completing assignments and taking breaks.  Also, if students have a competitive nature, a timer can create a motivating game that can help them to maintain attention on the task at hand.  They simply compete against themselves or others to beat the time it takes them to complete a set number of tasks or problems.
    7. Maintain a structured routine.  Make an afternoon and early evening schedule that includes blocks of time for assignments, eating, and even unstructured free time.
    8. Accommodate each student's best ways of learning.  You can learn more about this by CLICKING HERE.
    9. Pair pleasantries with the process.  Prepare healthy snacks, tasty drinks, and collect favorite pillows, toys... that can be used to calm and soothe the mind.
    10. Have fun designing a study space that has all the resources, light, and materials.  For instance, be creative and create a cool study loft, with a pillow corner for reading, a desk and Zenergy Ball chairs with color-coded cubbies and bins filled with markers and colorful paper.
    11. Use erasable Frixion markers, pens and highlighters when completing assignments.  Bringing color into assignments can often increase the fun factor.  
    12. Take kinesthetic, brain breaks to help high energy students manage their need to move around.  CLICK HERE for a great resource.

    Are There Any Materials that Can Help?

    Executive Functioning Coaching

    You can also try Planning, Time Management, and Organization for Success.  This digital download offers a 168 page, bundle (document and editable PowerPoint) for elementary through high school and college students. With quick and easy approaches and handouts, students quickly learn to master executive functioning skills. The areas of focus are:
    • motivation tips
    • recording of homework assignments with a large selection of editable agendas
    • checklists and to-do lists
    • resources for planning for long-term assignments
    • writing strategies and organizers
    • reading strategies
    • math computation strategies and resources
    • memory strategies
    • note taking help
    • test taking assistance
    • and much more
    These materials were all created over a twenty year period in my private practice as an educational therapist. What’s more, the materials accommodate learners from elementary to college. Finally, you can get free sample handouts from the publication, as well as view a free video on executive functioning by Clicking Here

    I hope you found these strategies helpful. I'm here to help. Reach out any time.

    Cheers, Erica

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