Procrastination is a bad habit and one that will get your teen nowhere. He may not realize the importance of getting things done right away right now, but it is important you teach him the skills to cope with busy schedules and multiple deadlines. He must master time management skills early on to help him adjust and transition into the demands of adulthood. Here’s how to stop teen procrastination.
- Teach him coping skills in his childhood. It’s easier to teach young children the importance of meeting deadlines and doing what needs to be done right away.
- Talk to your teen and ask what is keeping him distracted. Your teen may have a problem that he can’t get his mind off that is preventing him from focusing. Perhaps he is one of those individuals who thrive on stress to be able to work. Maybe he is afraid of something so his solution is to avoid it, such as teens that are afraid of rejection and change and don’t submit their college entrance applications right away.
- Show the value of rewards and consequences as it pertains to his actions. For example, if you give your teen a chore to do, give him a time frame wherein he is expected to do it, such as getting his homework done by 5pm. If he doesn’t get it done, then take away privileges such as going out with his friends during the weekend or banning TV time.
- Practice what you preach. If your teen sees that you “wing it” all the time, miss deadlines and slack off on your own schedule, how can you expect him to do it? Be a model of proper and effective time management and it will be easier for your teen to do the same.
- Assess your teen’s personality and model a time management program that will suit him. Gauge his work style. For example, is your teen visually oriented? If so, it may help to have a big white board wherein all the things he needs to do are written down. You may help him break up the time. Some teens are easily distracted and need constant breaks when doing a task. If so, allow him three minute mental breaks when he is doing his task, but gently remind him that he needs to get back to his work. If your teen is the type that needs a reward and punishment system to get him working, then create such a system. Try to withhold his allowance (after all, in the real world, you don’t get paid if you don’t get the job done).
- Provide your teen with the tools to help him manage his time better. Perhaps he needs to use a planner, or maybe he needs a dedicated workspace to be able to concentrate on his work.
- During work time, institute no TV, Internet surfing or phone time. This will show that getting his work done is valuable, and all other leisure activities are not the priority.
Teaching your teen to stop procrastinating may prove to be challenging, but it can be done. Try the aforementioned suggestions and see what works!