Does your child procrastinate? 6 simple and effective remedies

“You see Steph, I told you it would be useless and that I wouldn’t make it! » . I am 13 years old. I’m in middle school and coming out of gym class with my best friend and classmate Stephanie. Former great gymnast and coach of a local team of athletes, the physical education and sports teacher Madame Bée challenges us to succeed in floor movements that terrify me. When she tried to do a front flip with every possible precaution, I froze.

This morning, knowing that I was going to learn and execute this forward overhand leap, I woke up morose and irritable. Suddenly, I even forgot (consciously or not) my sports t-shirt and I had to borrow one from a friend. I dragged my feet to get there and guess what? The gym session was catastrophic.

And then, there is still something that tickles me… Stéphanie and I have a lot of hooked atoms but certainly not sport! I do a lot of dancing as well as athletics while Stéphanie is more passionate about rally racing on Nintendo. And yet during this same session, she managed several movements on the floor and on the beam.

How is it possible?

That, you will discover thanks to a concept that our professor Madame Bée put into practice, a conceptualized therapeutic technique that allowed me to break the locks of my blockage and change my perspective forever: hacking his brain by bias of the cognitive triangle.

“Procrastinate? It’s putting off until tomorrow what can be done today. Like, for example, putting off arranging your room and preferring to watch cartoons on TV! “. Here is what my mom told me when I was 10 to explain this strange word “procrastinate”.

Later, I learned that procrastination is a human condition. According to Psychology and Behavioral Science Doctor Piers Steel, author of The Procrastination Equation, 95% of people admit they put off work.

Similarly, his counterpart and fellow Canadian Tim Pychyl explains in his book “Solving the procrastination puzzle” that procrastinating is “a purely visceral and emotional reaction to something we don’t want to do.”

In short, the more aversion you have to a task, the more likely you are to procrastinate.

Indeed, for a student, it is not easy to tackle math homework, especially if it is a subject with which one is not comfortable. We postpone the inevitable, we procrastinate and we find ourselves at the last minute rushing our work and returning a copy of which we are really not proud. When the copies were returned, our poor mark ended up justifying our initial apprehension and reinforcing our desire to procrastinate the next time!

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A real vicious circle! how to get out?

The causes of procrastination

From this work, Tim Pychyl has identified 6 triggers that make a task more daunting than the others. So think of a math task, lesson, or homework that your child is procrastinating, putting off right now, you’ll most likely find that it exhibits several of the following 6 characteristics.

  • Boring

“I push back because geometry is really cool… and it bores me”

  • Frustrating

“I push back because I don’t understand much about it and in class I don’t dare ask questions because I would look stupid”

  • Difficult

“I put off the assignment because I really don’t know how to do it or where to start”

  • Ambiguous and unstructured

“I reject this assignment because I do not understand the statement, nor how to take the subject” 

  • Not inherently rewarding (i.e. you don’t find the process fun)

“I push back because solving an equation is really not fun”

  • A lack of personal meaning for you

“I’m pushing back because…what’s the point of math?” »

The 6 remedies for procrastination

In a Harvard Business Review article , author Chris Bailey identifies 5 strategies to beat procrastination.

“On a neurological level, procrastination doesn’t make sense at all – it’s the result of the emotional part of your brain, your limbic system, overpowering the reasonable and rational part of your brain, your prefrontal cortex. Part of your brain is whenever you prefer Facebook at work, or decide to watch a new episode of Married at First Sight on your way home. But there is a way to give the logical part of your brain the upper hand. When you notice a showdown between logic and emotion approaching, resist the impulse of procrastination. –Chris Bailey.

We are all different so one tip does not necessarily suit everyone. You can therefore choose from among the 6 steps proposed by Chris Bailey and Tim Pychyl to reduce procrastination in your child.

1 – Reverse procrastination triggers

We have previously seen the 6 characteristics that make a task daunting and therefore prone to procrastinate. Both of you can try to think differently about this task , making the idea of ​​making it more appealing.

If your child’s predominant intelligence is visual-spatial intelligence, then his mode of memorization and comprehension depends on his ability to imagine and think in images. You can then encourage him to reformulate his lesson in drawings, diagrams and not to skimp on colors and shapes! Maria Montessori had understood this well and recent neuroscience work has confirmed it: the more the supports are playful, colorful and aesthetic, the better they solicit the 2 cerebral hemispheres and therefore facilitate the flexibility of thinking and therefore in its motivation to learn.

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2 – Work according to your level of resistance

When a task triggers procrastinating reflexes, we resist performing it. But what is our level of resistance  ? Fortunately, we have access to the thermostat so we can lower it to start with 30, 20, 10 min for a project instead of 60 min.

3 – Do something – anything – to start

Basically, it is always easier to continue with a task after overcoming the initial difficulty of the first step. Indeed, the tasks that make us procrastinate are rarely as terrible as we think. We have a lot of apprehensions and it’s the first step that costs.

So, ask him to sign up for a 3 minute commitment. Don’t wait to be ready, but start there, now. The objective is to break the initial inertia. Once launched, you will find that he will take a certain rhythm, that certain information is more familiar and accessible to him than he initially thought. This will activate his motivation to continue.

4 – List the costs of procrastination

This trick works best when putting off important tasks . You can get him to admit that not learning his basic trigonometric formulas may not have any immediate consequences, but that he will fall behind and have gaps that he will find difficult to fill in homework and in class. Thus, it is very likely that he will drag these difficulties in geometry for a long time like a handicap until the patent, see the baccalaureate.

5 – Disconnect

Our devices offer an abundance of distractions , whether it’s email, social media, or texting with friends and family. It is all the more difficult as our work becomes more ambiguous and unstructured (2 triggers of procrastination).

So prepare a distraction-free environment for her . Make his cell phone as hard to reach as his math book is close at hand.

There are very nice tools to help him stop procrastinating, in particular the “Forest ” application: for example, we give ourselves 1 hour of work and we plant a tree at the start of the timer. While we work this tree grows. If you have the misfortune to open your phone before 1 a.m., it dies. After a while if you are consistent, you become the guardian of a pretty little forest. A great reward which is also an opportunity to measure your progress. 

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6 – Forgive yourself and forget

Bad experiences related to bad behavior on our part tend to resurface unexpectedly when we try to accomplish things that we dread. There are the regrettable “I should have!” ( Because we postponed the revisions and therefore failed) which have the bitter taste of “too late” .

These experiences undermine, block and prevent progress.

In fact, we procrastinate, we are ashamed of having done so and the poor image we have of ourselves encourages us to … procrastinate again!

What can be done to break this circle?

In a 2010 study by Tim Pychyl, the author concludes that “  “Forgiveness allows individuals to move past their maladaptive behavior and focus on the next exam without the burden of their past actions hindering their studies. »

So encourage him to close the door on the past, on his guilt for procrastinating. We take a deep breath and decide to move forward!

And tomorrow

To sum up

Practicing one or more of these 6 tips regularly will allow him to overcome the emotions associated with procrastination.

The first thing to identify is the primary cause for his procrastinating mania. Is it frustration? Boredom? The difficulty of the task? lack of clarity? The lack of personal meaning?

And only then will you be able to choose from among the 6 remedies the best effective and 100% natural pill against your habit of procrastinating.

It takes 21 days of practice to make an action a habit, so patience and consistency are key.

Now it’s up to you!

If you have other anti-procrastination tips to reveal, do not hesitate to leave them in the comments. And if you enjoyed this article or want to ask me questions, do so! I will be happy to answer you. See you soon !

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