stop procrastinating

5 Key Planning and Preparation Skills to Teach Your Kids

I was a junior in high school and it was ten o’clock. Anxiety filled every part of me because I had an eight page paper due in the morning of which I hadn’t written a single sentence. I wish I could say this was out of the ordinary, but it wasn’t. I’m a natural procrastinator. Over the years I have improved in this area of my life, but it definitely still rears its ugly head.

So, how can we stop procrastinating and be better prepared? More importantly, how can we help our kids do the same? Here are 5 key planning and preparation skills to teach your kids.

1. Think big picture first.

Teach your kids how to “begin with the end in mind” as author Stephen Covey says. Once they can see what they are striving for, it will motivate them.

2. Fill in the steps.

Once they can see the end, or the big picture, now it’s time to determine the smaller things they need to do in order to achieve what they are working toward. For example, if your child is working on a homework assignment, the goal is to finish it. Smaller steps may be to get help from you, find a quiet place to study, and have a healthy snack that provides energy.

3. Set a deadline.

If your child isn’t given a homework deadline or doesn’t set one himself, then it may not get done. The concept of imposing a deadline on themselves will serve your children better than having deadlines set for them by other people.

4. Gather the essentials.

Some of the tasks, or smaller steps, will require materials. Homework will require a writing utensil and paper, or a computer with internet access. Teaching your child to gather the items needed to complete the job will help him show up better prepared for the task at hand.

5. Prioritize and take action.

One of my challenges is not having a plan of action; instead, I do all sorts of smaller steps at once. I sometimes struggle with prioritizing. Teach your kids to plan their tasks in order of importance and to discipline themselves to do the most important thing first. Then, move to the next task only after completing the first one.

Planning and preparation are valuable life skills that not everyone, even adults, have developed. It is something we must teach and help develop in our kids to give them the best chance for being successful in life.

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What other habits do you have that you hope your kids won't pick up?

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Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Why do you think procrastination is such a bad thing?”

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