Stop the Stalling: How to Help Kids Stop Wasting Time

"I have plenty of time."

Yes, your son really does plan to put on his pj's and get ready for bed -- in his own good time. Truth is, it's easy for children to postpone things indefinitely when they don't feel any sense of urgency (yours doesn't count).

How you can help: Help your child set deadlines, and then dole out extra incentives for finishing before the agreed time. "We're quick to punish for getting things done late, but we're not always quick to praise for getting things done early," says Joseph R. Ferrari, PhD, professor of psychology at DePaul University, in Chicago. If your son is supposed to be ready for bed by 8 p.m. and he's done by 7:45 p.m., you might say, "We have time to read an extra book tonight because you got ready for bed so quickly." Eventually, he'll learn that doing something on time is good, but doing it early is even better.

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