Stop the Stalling: How to Help Kids Stop Wasting Time

Tired of hearing "I'll do it later"? For older kids, procrastination often becomes a problem as they start to have more responsibilities and more power over their own time. Happily, you can nip it in the bud before it becomes a lifelong habit by thinking about what's behind the behavior, and trying these strategies.

"I don't want to."

Kids often procrastinate for the simple reason that they have different priorities than we do. So if your son's must-do list includes beating his brother's video-game score and doodling dragons on his notebook, studying spelling words and writing birthday thank-you notes are not going to get done without your involvement.

How you can help: Forget about making your child want to do the more important task. Things like good grades and manners are abstract concepts to school-age kids, and no amount of nagging is going to change that. Instead, move the task up on your child's priority list by connecting it to a privilege he values, suggests George M. Kapalka, PhD, author of Parenting Your Out-of-Control Child. For example, if you allow TV and video games only after the day's homework is completed, your child will learn that privileges come with responsible behavior.

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