How Parents Teach Kids to Procrastinate

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Congrats. You have clicked and visited this article by overcoming your procrastination behavior. If you could sustain this for another few minutes, you might change your parenting habits which are the main causes for your kid’s procrastinating habit.


Do you think academic studies are enough for your children to have a successful career and fulfilling life? Education focuses mainly on the numeracy and language skills. Except these skills, rest are all just knowledge on various subjects. In our day to day life, we seldom use the knowledge we acquire in school and colleges. Personally, I don’t remember using whatever I have studied during my schooling in my career and my real life. I just studied not learnt anything from my education. Do you sail in the same boat!!!!.  If I reflect back and think how much time, I have wasted by procrastinating my learning by focusing on tasks which had no influence on my future. It is mind boggling. So, I thought I would come up with the main causes of my procrastination and use them to help my kid overcome his procrastination habit.

During this process, I understood that children learn to procrastinate mostly from their parents than from their environment.  Being a father, I could relate myself to a kid as well as a father. Now, I am trying to make sure that I should not be doing what my dad unknowingly did, which induced procrastination as a behavior in myself.

For example, we all know that life skills such as communication skills, listening skills, social skills, decision-making skills are much more important than acquiring knowledge. We should have spent time with our kids (as schools are busy teaching information) to coach these life skills for them to have successful career and life. But we have procrastinated these tasks by working on other materialistic tasks which enable us to enjoy more luxury.

Topics to Read

If you are a parent, you would remember how much we struggled to answer the curious questions, when your child was three years old. They have the natural affinity towards learning about new things; their curiosity widens every day.

Kill the Curiosity

Our (Parent) first mission is to kill their interest by either procrastinating their questions or giving a direct answer to their question. Both of them will not help them in learning. By repeated rejections, kids learn not to ask questions to parents. They begin to procrastinate questions to their parents ( many kids procrastinate chronically till the end).

When they get into schooling, they often find it difficult to open up and ask questions. They have little time to spend with their school friends, so they procrastinate their doubts and get on to play with them. Duration is fixed in classrooms, which leaves no time for students to ask their questions. They have the vast syllabus (which is of no use to them according to me) to cover. Again they procrastinate their questions at school.

Kindle the curiosity :

First acknowledge the curiosity. If you do not know the answer, tell them that you are curious to know about that too. Ask him to keep a diary and note down all their curious questions. Allocate some time every week or month to explore and find the answer with your kid.

Kill the Learning

Wisdom and Knowledge Vs Intelligence

Knowledge does not mean just knowing the answer to a question. It is much more that. Kids should be in a position to associate and connect the concept being learnt with other concepts they already know.  If they could not relate to what they already know, it just goes over the head. The information becomes dangling when there is no association between question and the answer. This information cannot be accessed by any other trigger(concept). They may be able to respond that particular question but they will not have an understanding of the subject and cannot answer any related or similar questions. Kids procrastinate learning unknowingly. They procrastinate to learn the process or technique to solve the problem by finding a quick answer to the problem.


Topics to Read: Learning is a skill, not knowledge.

Kindle the learning : Why is sky blue?

If you answer them that evaporation does not pick the salt content, they will not understand. More importantly, the answer is really boring and will make them procrastinate this and do something else. Instead ask them what happens when milk is boiled, they will understand it better and the analogy will help them explore more on that subject.

Kill the Creativity

We often forget that, If you tell the direct answer to a question to your kid, there is no learning in it. Instead, we should give them direction to think so that they would come up with a lot of answers to their question.In reality, there are multiple solutions to the problem, but because of their procrastination, they know only one answer. Their creative capacity is limited due to this. Creativity is the ability to come up with a lot of ideas by associating many unrelated concepts in our mind.

Kindle the creativity : You ask them to draw picture of elephant

They will come up with something which may not have major parts of the elephants but of some other animals. Instead of scolding them and inducing fear, ask them why trunk is missing. draw trunk for them and move on to other parts…Allow them to express their opinion, discuss about what they feel, what their opinion is, and allow them to make choices. Don’t judge it with your knowledge and take decision for them.

Kill the Motivation

Another parent attitude which destroys their creative capability is our tendency to be right all the time. If we punish them for their mistakes during learning, they would unconsciously learn that doing something wrong is bad, and they would start procrastinating doing it. Most of the parents punish their kids only when they do wrong, not when they procrastinate it. Unconsciously Kids learn that it is OK to postpone it than to do it the wrong way.

It has been my observation that parents kill more dreams than anybody – Spike Lee

Kindle the Motivation

Help them to divide their task into multiple minor tasks and reward them for completing each minor tasks.

Kill the Pleasure

Do you think what pleasure have to do with children? Hold on…Don’t procrastinate on this. There is the much more important thing for you to think and answer now.

Do you allow your kids to play indoor and outdoor games?. If not you should consider them seriously. When kids play games, they enjoy it because of the factor that they get the adrenaline rush, chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin are released during the play.

More importantly, games teach kids how to fail and how to take it lightly. They learn to try again after failure and failure become part of their learning. Kids who did not play games have problems when they encounter failures in real life. Especially after they get separated from their parents, many go into depression and stress because of their inability to cope up with failure.

Winding Up

Thanks for reading. Please comment your experiences below and let me know if I miss anything big which we killed in our kids.

Further Reading

How to Stop Procrastinating in 22 hours

Procrastination Image Quotes to share

About Prabakaran Thirumalai 809 Articles
Blogger on topics including Life Skills such as Learning, Thinking, Emotional Intelligence, Motivation, and Social Skills.