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The Dog Ate My Homework - Procrastination and High School Students

"What are some tips to help my kid stop procrastinating?" Before trying to implement a solution, identify the underlying cause. WHY is your teen procrastinating in school? Once we can identify the reason (or reasons!) then we can figure out how to help him/her become more effective.

In my experience, I have found some students will put off doing homework because they will forget to write down the assignment. An easy solution lies in creating a "trigger" to remind the student to put the information in their planner. If the student puts his or her planner on their desk, they will see it when picking up their books at the end of class. This "trigger" will remind them to write down their assignment. Another option is to have each teacher sign the assignment notebook at the end of each class. Using this strategy ensures the student not only writes down the assignment, but also he/she writes down the CORRECT assignment like essays from

Other students will put off projects because they don't understand the directions. These students should periodically schedule time with each teacher before or after school. Ten to fifteen minutes should be all it takes for the teacher to review the assignment and outline expectations. Your student will leave feeling more in control of how and what to study. Some students may have a difficult time approaching the teacher to set-up after school time. As a parent, this is an ideal time to assist your child with how to set up the appointment. Role play so your students can understand which words to use. Or, help your child draft an email requesting assistance after school.

Still others will play video games instead of starting an essay because they "just don't know what to write". Actually, research has shown that procrastination often results from fear of failure. Address this fear by starting small. Using "chunking" is a great way to overcome this challenge. Encourage your student to think of the essay in parts. Can your budding author come up with one main topic? Or maybe your student has a great phrase for part of the thesis statement. Once they get one chunk done, it will be easier to get the next part completed.

Encourage your child to take their steps toward success one at a time - first the planner, then the paragraph. The momentum will build and you should start to see some positive results.

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