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Why Do Students Procrastinate?


Child trying to study but looking out the window

You just found out that your child has big project… and it’s due tomorrow!

Why do students put off a big project until the last minute? Despite what some parents might believe, it’s not because your child is lazy, just doesn’t want to do the work, or because he or she has a bad work ethic.

Kids often put more value on what is happening today than what will happen tomorrow. This can make working on homework and assignments something they push off until they absolutely have to. Pair that with the fact that many students’ dislike the idea of doing schoolwork at home, and you have the perfect recipe for a procrastination problem.

So, what can parents do to help?

Learn more about the causes and effects of procrastination, and tips for how you can help your child avoid procrastinating so he or she can become a better, self-motivated learner.

Why Do Students Procrastinate?

Students often procrastinate because they don’t see how a project is relevant or important to them, don’t understand the material, or just don’t know how to get started. When you boil it down, procrastination is a combination of motivation, confidence, and comprehension issues.

As a parent, it can be frustrating to struggle with your child not completing his or her homework and assignments. It can leave many parents feeling as though their child is lazy or simply doesn’t care about school.

However, much of the time procrastination has very little to do with laziness or a lack of caring. In many cases, there are deeper issues that lead students to develop a procrastination problem.

Causes of procrastination among students include:

  • Lack of motivation
  • Low self-confidence
  • Fear of failure
  • Lack of understanding
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Perfectionism
  • Low energy levels
  • Poor organization skills

Effects Of Procrastination On Students & Schoolwork

Procrastination can have a negative effect on students’ schoolwork, grades, and even their overall health. Students who procrastinate experience higher levels of frustration, guilt, stress, and anxiety—in some cases leading to serious issues like low self-esteem and depression.

The effects of procrastination can have an even bigger impact on high school students. Once students reach high school and start receiving more take-home assignments and larger projects, students who procrastinate until the last minute tend to receive lower grades than their peers.

This can create a cycle of bad grades and low self-confidence that can be difficult for students to overcome. At a time when marks start to impact the post-secondary opportunities for students, this can lead to a lot of extra stress and frustration.

How Can Students Learn To Avoid Procrastinating?

How can you help your child beat the temptation to procrastinate? Check out these tips and find out how students can stop procrastinating and start being more productive.

  1. Break the project into smaller tasks
  2. Big projects can be overwhelming at the outset. Help your child break the project down into manageable parts such as research, writing, and editing. Then, he or she can tackle each task step by step until the project is done. This will also help your child develop and practice his or her project planning and time management skills.

  3. Make the project meaningful to him or her
  4. Finding ways to make a project meaningful and relevant for students helps them connect it to their interests and gives them motivation to get started. Relate the project to something your child is interested in or a real-world scenario; this can help make homework and assignments less like work and a bit more interesting.

  5. Build up your child’s confidence
  6. Some children procrastinate because they are afraid to fail or think they can’t live up to expectations. Boosting your child’s confidence by pointing out his or her efforts and past achievements can help your child develop a more positive attitude toward his or her work, making it easier to get started.

  7. Create a dedicated study space
  8. Without a proper study space, children can become distracted by everything going on around them—something that can quickly lead to a procrastination situation. To avoid this, create a dedicated quiet space where your child can sit down and do his or her work each day. Make sure this space has all the materials your child will need, including pencils, paper, and erasers.

  9. Eat healthy and get lots of sleep
  10. Healthy eating and sleeping habits can help increase the amount of energy your child has as well as his or her brainpower and focus—things your child needs to perform his or her best in school. Get your child into a regular sleep routine, sticking to a set bedtime each night. Help your child pack his or her lunch each day, picking healthy options like fruits and yogurt as midday snacks (these work great as after school study snacks, too!)

  11. Set clear goals
  12. Fear of failure and perfectionism are major causes of procrastination, and can be difficult for many students to get over. Helping your child set clear and realistic goals will help him or her manage expectations and track his or her progress. Let your child know that sometimes it is okay to fail, and treat it as a lesson for next time.

  13. Make a project plan and stick to it
  14. Create a schedule with your child, setting dedicated blocks of “homework time” he or she uses to work on schoolwork each day. When bigger projects are assigned, sit down with your child as early as possible and make a project plan of attack he or she can follow. Set mini project due dates or milestones your child can aim for. This will help break down the assignment, making big projects seem more manageable.

  15. Develop good study skills
  16. Help your child improve his or her study skills by focusing on the learning process—not just his or her grades. Getting a good grade is the goal, but it is good study skills that will help your child achieve it. Encourage active thinking and critical problem-solving skills by talking through any challenges your child is facing with their homework or assignments and working out a solution together.

Stop Procrastinating—Today!

Helping students improve their learning skills and develop motivation for their work are the keys to helping students complete homework and assignments on time, reduce school stress, and put an end to procrastination for good. If your child still needs an extra boost, our study skills program can help!






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