For everyove who has a little slacker in the family, getting in the back-to-school mode can be a difficult process. Psychologist and TODAY contributor Michele Borba has some tips that will help families deal with kids who lack motivation and are full of excuses.
Does this sound like your kid? “I don’t care! I quit – this is too hard.” “Why don’t you do it?” Does his teacher tell you: "I just know he could do better if he would just apply himself?” Do they dawdle, procrastinate, live unorganized, have poor time management skills and cut corners?
If so, chances are you have a little slacker, and they can be frustrating. Don’t fret— here are parenting solutions for the slacker kids just in time for back-to-school. It’s the makeover no parent should put off!
Step One: Identify typical causes of slacking that need fixing
Some kids just want to cut corners, but there may be other reasons for the behavior. Here are common causes of kid slacking not to overlook.
Expectations: Are expectations for your child appropriate (not too hard or easy, but just right)?
Learning disability: Does your child have trouble focusing or have a problem learning that is causing him undue frustration?
Modeling: Could he be mimicking another family member or your slacking ways?
Overwhelmed: Is there too much going on so your child doesn’t have time or stamina to work hard?
Step Two: Address slacker excuses and offer solutions that help child get into the game of life
Here are the top five slacker excuses and solutions that you can use now to curb slacking.
Excuse 1: “I can’t find my homework!”
Slacker kids are often disorganized, so homework assignments are commonly misplaced. Use concrete organizers to remedy. Put two heavy-duty folders on the wall for homework and school notices. Label one “To Do” and the other “Done.” Teach the child to put homework into “To Do” folder when she comes home. Completed homework goes into the “Done” folder. Child then grabs “done work” and puts it into her backpack before school. The practice becomes a routine and you no longer need to be the reminder.
Excuse 2: “What do I get for it?”
Procrastinators start relying on those rewards so stop rewarding the end product or finished paper and start reinforcing your kid’s productivity and effort. Using the right praise that stretches effort and hard work actually stretches persistence.
Excuse 3: “I don’t know what to do first!”
Slackers often lack prioritizing skills. Help your child to break down assignments into smaller tasks. The child writes or draws each task on Post-it Notes, and then stacks them in order from the first to last thing to do. Child rips off each Post-it Note until all work is completed.
Excuse 4: “I worked long enough!”
Slackers often don’t hang into a task long enough and often think they worked longer than they did. Use timing devices and agree on a set work time to minimize excuses. Also turn directions into a time game. Challenge your child to see how quickly he can finish that paper. Slowly reverse the role so your child challenges himself.
Excuse 5: “I need help!”
Slackers often expect rescue don’t give their all knowing that you will bail themout. If you want your child to learn how to be a self-starter, then stop being her personal assistant. Change your role from “doer” to “guider” and start weaning “I’ll to watch you do the first row, you do the second solo.”
Every strategy takes consistency and commitment, so don’t give up!
Dr. Michele Borba is a TODAY contributor and author of "The Big Book of Parenting Solutinos: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries." Follow her on twitter @micheleborba