Teach Your Child Not to Procrastinate

Teach your child not to procrastinate with the best of teachers: By example. This series of tips, though aimed at children, can help you, too.
Teach Your Child Not to Procrastinate
María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Procrastination is that heavy habit of leaving for tomorrow what you could get done today and prolonging the tasks that we must complete because we’ve mistakenly related them to change, pain, sacrifice, or hard work. Today, we’ll tell you how to teach your child not to procrastinate, which is a very important life lesson.

We’ve all put something off at some point, and to be honest, some of us are procrastinators by trade. But rather than feeling ashamed of our behavior, we must consider it as a weakness of our character and work hard to replace it with good habits in order to prevent aimless loitering from becoming the rule in our homes and lives.

You can teach your child not to procrastinate with the best of teachers: A good example. So, take a look at the series of tips that we’ll offer in the article below. And although they’re aimed at your children, you can also apply them to yourself.

Procrastination is a big problem in this era of multitasking, entertainment, enjoyment, and instant gratification. And for that reason, this post will teach you how to teach your child not to procrastinate their responsibilities and duties and how to fulfill their commitments and obligations. In the long run, their discipline will be well rewarded.

Leave the short-term mentality aside and get working toward those goals and dreams that we deserve to achieve!

Teach your child not to procrastinate

“Don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today”

This saying popularized all around the world tells us a great truth. The present is the only time in which we have control and can take on activities to improve our future. So, what better time to do scheduled tasks than now. Teach your children this effective and productive way of assuming life.

A teenage girl looking distracted while doing schoolwork on her computer.

The two-minute rule

In line with the precepts of the previous paragraph, the two-minute rule, coined by the GTD program (“getting things done”) and the writer David Allen, invites us to get up and go do those tasks that won’t take more than two minutes to accomplish.

It’s as simple as not postponing and it frees you from having those unaccomplished tasks or that important phone call from looming over your head in the future. If the tasks your child needs to get done won’t take more than two minutes, go and get them done together right now.


Get positive results by teaching your child not to procrastinate with this rule of rewarding things that are done well and on time. Apply this rule especially to tasks that demand time and effort from your child. After completing math homework, for example, they can play on the video game console.

Also, show them that the achievement of the goal is in itself a valuable reward for their effort and discipline.

Keep in mind that, if that task or activity imposed on your child begins to bother him, perhaps the reason is that they don’t like it or would prefer an activity more aligned with their interests. It’s always important to review, together with your child, their dreams and commitments to see if they’re in tune with their passions.

Establish routines

Together with your child, make activity schedules and establish routines. Routines allow us to structure our time and avoid wasting it on activities without a clear purpose or inefficient consumption of time.

In addition, routines allow us to apply some inertia to daily tasks, which will make them easier to perform.

Two young children looking at the screen of a laptop.

Learn to say no

When we’re adults, not being able to say no is a big problem, and the same is true for children. Therefore, it’s an advantage to teach your child not to commit beyond their possibilities and to recognize the contexts in which a “no” without guilt is the best way to save themselves from painful tasks or commitments that won’t contribute to their growth.

Divide big tasks

In general, sometimes we avoid starting an activity because we’re afraid to take on the challenge and we don’t believe we can do it. Anxiety overwhelms us and we end up paralyzed. Teach your child that these types of tasks are best conquered in stages.

Dividing up big tasks and taking them on one step at a time will help us complete them successfully and without associated trauma.

Avoid distractions

Multitasking and distraction are the enemies of concentration and the allies of procrastination. When your child has a commitment or task, they should avoid being distracted by television, mobile devices, or video games.

Establish a distraction-free workplace at home and share homework and work schedules with your child.

Although in some cases, multitasking is beneficial, in others, it’s a waste of time and energy to take on multiple activities done without clear objectives. So, teach your child to do one activity at a time, and, after it’s been conquered, they can move on to the next one.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Steel, P. (2017). Procrastinación: Por qué dejamos para mañana lo que podemos hacer hoy. DEBOLS! LLO.
  • Bazalar, L. A. C. (2011). Procrastinación académica como predictor del rendimiento académico en jóvenes de educación superior. Temática psicológica7(1), 53-62.
  • Justo, C. U. D. A. F. (2010). Efectos de un programa de entrenamiento en conciencia plena (mindfulness) en el estado emocional de estudiantes universitarios. Estudios sobre educación19, 31-52.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.