Confronting the Back-to-School Procrastination Challenge: Strategies for Empowering Your Child’s Productivity

With a new school year upon us, it is time to talk about procrastination! I imagine that many of you reading this have spent the last few weeks nagging your child to complete their summer homework prior to Labor Day. You are not alone! My hope is that this blog will provide understanding about why students procrastinate, and how to begin tackling this head on.

Katrin B. Klingsieck, author of Procrastination: When good things don’t come come to those who wait, defines procrastination as, “the voluntary delay of an intended and necessary and/or [personally] important activity, despite expecting potential negative consequences that outweigh the positive consequences of the delay” (Klingsieck, 2013, 26). The statistics surrounding procrastination are astounding. The American Psychological Association (APA) reports that “80% to 95% of college students procrastinate, particularly when it comes to doing their coursework.” Similarly, they report that “50% of high school students [procrastinate] … consistently and problematically.” These statistics are even higher amongst students with ADHD, Executive Function challenges, and/or Generalized Anxiety Disorder (Low, 2023, 1).


With this in mind, I have put together a non-exhausting list of suggestions to help your child overcome procrastination.

  1. Make a to-do list in order of high-priority assignments to low-priority assignments. This will serve as a ‘road map.’ 
  2. Pick the ‘right’ study space. This may take a bit of trial and error. If your child becomes distracted facing a window, for example, have them move their seat. I recommend that students avoid studying in their bed, as this impacts both sleep schedules and overall productivity. 
  3. Eliminate distractions! Have your child find a quiet study space, away from their cell phones and other distractions. There are also a number of apps/programs designed to eliminate distractions on devices
  4. Schedule time for breaks. If your child knows that they have an hour or two hours of work ahead, it may deter them from even beginning. Create a study plan that balances undistracted work time with short breaks. 
  5. Give yourself and your child grace. Overcoming procrastination does not happen overnight. Incorporating a reward system – or some form of positive reinforcement – will help your child stay on track. 

Helpful Resources

There are many helpful resources to help you and your child along on this journey:

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