Procrastination Strategies For Students & Parents

As the school year progresses, kids start to get tired of their homework and parents have to deal with procrastination. Especially in the digital age, procrastination, or cyberslacking, is a huge issue. With the Internet and cell phones kids and teens are constantly distracted by texts, online games and Facebook.

Here are some tips to beat procrastination before it starts:

1) Month Ahead Planning

Make sure your child uses a planner from the school or at your local office supply store. Get in the habit of looking ahead with your child on the first Sunday of every month. Sit down with all of their assignment sheets and projects and mark the calendar with all assessments for classes like tests, quizzes, papers, reports, labs etc. You can highlight them and then write reminders the days before so you are both clear on what is coming up.

2) Make Two Different Accounts

For students who start procrastinating because of technology distractions make two different users for your child on their computer—one personal one, and one school one. On the school one you can uninstall or remove from the dock any chat or IM programs. On the Internet browser you can get rid of any personal or fun bookmarks. This way teens teach themselves to literally switch modes when they are working and playing.

3) Work in Chunks

Chunking is a great way to work without getting distracted or procrastinate. Teach your child to begin working in chunks. This is when you use a phone or egg timer to work in chunks—30 minutes on, 5 minutes off. You work very efficiently during your 30 minutes to get to your 5 minute break where you can check Facebook, texts or watch a quick video.

4) Let Them Rely On Themselves

Many teens say: “why should I try to remember my assignments when I know my mom will tell me and then help me finish.” Get your child on a schedule and teach them how to break down their work and then let them go. If they get a few low grades, that's OK they will become relient on themselves to curb their desire to procrastinate.

Procrastination can creep up on kids and sap away their productivity. Avoiding procrastination is a lifelong struggle—working on it early is a great way to make sure they will always stay on top of their commitments.  

Vanessa Van Petten, creator of a parenting website written from the teen perspective to help parents understand them. She is also the author of the parenting book, “Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I’m Grounded?” (

Posted October 2011