Parenting with Mel - Tips for Kids that Procrastinate Doing Homework

Three tips for kids that procrastinate doing homework

By Mel Peirce - Certified Life and Parenting Coach November 7, 2023

Do you have a child that avoids homework or has a hard time getting started?

Last week guest expert Jen Dwyer shared information on Executive Functioning and some guidelines for setting up EF supports, but for kids who struggle with focus and fidgeting there are a few additional things you can do.

As Jen shared last week, please remember that for kids who struggle it isn’t attitude, misbehavior, or intelligence.  Some kid’s brains are wired differently and don’t get enough dopamine or blood flow, so their brains are understimulated.  As a result, they will fidget, procrastinate, argue with you, or poke at their siblings to get the stimulation that their brain is craving.

Knowing this, here are three tips that will help stimulate their brain and make it easier for them to do their homework.

1 - Jump start their brain with some exercise.
Get your kids moving to stimulate their brain right before having them sit down to do homework.  You can have them run a couple of laps around the house, or put on a high energy song and have them dance around.  If your child is involved in a sport, consider having them do their homework right after.  One parent told me they started staying at the hockey rink right after practice so their son could bang out his homework because he got it done much quicker.

2 - Set up a confined workspace for them.
Many kids prefer smaller spaces because it helps them feel safe and calms their nervous system.

For younger kids, consider putting a blanket over the table and letting them work underneath it.  For older children, you might let them stay in the car by themselves to get their homework done once you get home.

3 - Combine snacks and homework.
Chewing provides stimulation and brings blood flow to the brain.  Chewing is rhythmic, which helps the brain to process.  Chewing also helps alleviate anxiety so if your child is worried at all about any of the work that they’re doing, snacking while they’re doing the work can help. 

I encourage you to have a conversation with your child about how their brains work, and get them involved in figuring out what works best for them.   Is it easier for them to get work done in the morning, afternoon, or evening?  What locations are easier for them to work in?

Consider letting your need to have them sit at the kitchen table to do their homework go — and challenge them to find three weird ways that work for them to get their homework done.  It doesn’t matter if they’re doing their reading hanging upside down off the couch if they’re actually getting it done.  

If your child procrastinates and fights you over doing their homework, I invite you to join us in the Confident Parenting Club!  This month we are talking all about homework and I’ll be sharing more tips for kids that procrastinate, as well as exact scripts and troubleshooting strategies for when they’re struggling.  Learn more and join here.

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