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Procrastination Solutions for AD/HD Kids

By Chris Quarto on March 23, 2018

Oftentimes, kids procrastinate when they feel as though “the bar has been set too high” to accomplish a task – even when that’s not really the case.  Many parents find themselves getting into “tugs of war” with their kids – parents trying to coax their kids to get to work and kids resisting their efforts and perhaps whining and complaining all the while.  So what are you to do when your child procrastinates?  One idea is to “lower the bar” so the task doesn’t seem so daunting or aversive.  This can be done by using one of two strategies:

1. “Lower the task bar” – Help your child think of one small thing they can do relating to the task as opposed to completing the entire task.  This could be anything from writing his name on the paper to learning two out of ten assigned vocabulary words and taking a one or two minute break followed by the next two words followed by a break and so on and so forth.

2. “Lower the time bar” – the idea here is for the child to focus on a task as best as she can for three, five or even ten minutes – to really focus hard on completing as much of the task as she can – and then take a short break (e.g., checking social media posts/messages, running up and down the stairs of the house, etc.) for a minute or two followed by another period of short, but intense focus.  TimeTimer.com has a lot of neat products that could help make this a successful strategy.

Once your child gets going on a task, which is usually the big hurdle with kids who procrastinate, the hurdles that follow won’t seem as big (OR at least they’ll be one step closer to completing the task).

In some cases, it helps to use something visually encouraging to keep kids motivated to work on the task.  For example, your child could draw a road with a start and finish line and divide the road into a series of segments that corresponds to the number of things your child has to do (e.g., 10 segments for 10 math problems).  Each time your child completes a problem he could color a segment of the road – perhaps using a different color crayon, marker or colored pencil for each segment to make it visually appealing.  Or perhaps place a small toy car or stuffed animal at the start line and have your child move it to the next segment each time he or she finishes a problem (or has worked for a short predetermined amount of time).

Bottom line:  Whenever your child procrastinates help them figure out ways to lower the task or time bars.  (BTW – This works best when tweaking the ideas above to the unique features of your child and sprinkling in a little bit of creativity to add interest and spark motivation.)

 

Christopher J. Quarto, Ph.D., PLLC

Licensed psychologist (HSP)

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