“What you can do tomorrow, do it today. What you can do today, do it NOW”.
“The best time to start any good work is NOW.”
Many adults haven’t taken to the two mantras above, seriously, which are absolutely essential for success in life. As kids observe adults at home, postponing things, small and big, they tend to follow suit. The result is that kids tend to put things off to the last minute, depend on others to salvage the situation and generally end up putting up a poor show of what could have been a smooth and efficient work had they started well on time. Unless corrected in time, this tendency to postpone becomes a habit that severely affects their academic as well as social success later on. Instead, a habit of managing time efficiently, having realistic deadlines and achieving them consistently must be ingrained in them quite early in life.
So, what should you do?
1. Stop the habit of postponing without any valid reason, yourself. Let your kid not hear often, words like, “I will do it tomorrow”, “I know when to do it”, “This can wait” etc., uttered by you. Let there be an ambience of prompt actions predominantly prevailing at home. The kid will soak in it and get the habit for life. Encourage it.
2. Let the kid be conditioned by the rewards of completing tasks, big and small, on time every time and the unpleasant consequences of not doing so. Never give in to pleads for doing things later, on any pretext; enforcing this strict discipline will go a long way to ensure successes for your kid.
3. Patiently explain and make the kid understand that putting off things to the last minute just won’t work for getting good marks or grades; instead, it will only create stress, anxiety, doubts and fears, which will severely affect the outcome.
4. Never give in to the temptation of rescuing the kid that easily; once in a while, let the kid suffer the negative consequences and learn, so that the kid resolves on his/her own, never to put off things to the last minute again. From here on, you should help to strengthen the kid’s resolve by your support and co-operation.
5. The kid may be trying to postpone because the task is overwhelming. Help the kid to break the bigger task in smaller chunks, keep realistic and easy deadlines for each and let the kid experience the satisfaction of achieving them. Gradually, it will motivate the kid to avoid postponing any task.
6. Look out for lethargy or attention deficit arising out of any physical or emotional stress or a learning disability. Your support is all the more needed to remove the stress and ensure your kid’s emotional well being, by showering plenty of love and support. Don’t hesitate to take professional help where necessary.
7. Your kid may have a cool, laid back, ‘chalta hai’ (no big deal) attitude. Correct it well before it becomes a habit, with your persistent but gentle reminders that it won’t work.
8. Your kid may be poorly organized or there may be chaos at home. Avoid it by providing a congenial atmosphere at home; help the kid organize all study materials neatly. Help your kid to improve study skills by tuning in to the kid’s specific needs.
9. Teach the kid how to prioritize and schedule various tasks. Lack of clarity on this aspect may overwhelm your kid, increase stress and anxiety. The kid may end up postponing.
10. Your kid may be too worried about doing everything perfectly. So, fearing failure, your kid may hesitate to make a start. This starting trouble arising out of fear of failure is the prime reason most kids, even adults, postpone. You should boost your kid’s confidence by gently reinforcing that everything will turn out satisfactorily and the kid must just do it.
Let the kid develop a positive, cheerful and happy frame of mind and start enjoying everything he/she does, without worrying about the end result. This will ensure that the kid no longer postpones.
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