At BCOTB we conduct social skills training in efforts to improve the quality of life our client’s experience. An area in which we can provide assistance is helping children and teenagers who struggle academically. Here are four easy steps on how to help your child focus, avoid procrastinating and reduce their anxiety.
Know Exactly What You Wish To Accomplish
Many times students struggle with completing projects for school because they do not fully understand the assignment. It may be necessary to teach them how to ask for clarification or examples from their instructors. Have your child explain to instructors what they have questions about and any concerns they may have.
Other times it may be sufficient to sit down with your child and explain the assignment in greater detail. This may be a good time to show your child how to research and brainstorm ideas for their project. Inform them of resources they can use to do so. Once the student can visualize or describe exactly what they want to accomplish, they can move on to the next step.
Identify All Sequential Steps Necessary For A Task To Be Completed Successfully
At times, students may attempt to begin working on a task without having a clear idea of where to begin. This lack of clear direction may be a cause for procrastination. Have the student make a list of all the steps necessary to complete their task. Ideas may come to them in a random order, so have your child write them down and organize them afterwards. Once they have a clear direction in which to proceed, students may be more likely to complete their assignments quickly and efficiently. If your child has difficulty creating a list of steps, you may be able to find a list online, or by asking their teachers or a classmate.
Apportion The Necessary Amount Of Time For Each Task
Your child should have an estimate of how long each step in their task will require. For example, if your child has to build a model, he or she needs to account for the time necessary to purchase the materials, build the actual model, and drying time for any glue or paint used. This is recommended, not only to help plan how much the student should accomplish each night to avoid becoming overwhelmed, but also to ensure the project is complete by the due date. It may also be necessary to explain to your child that overzealous goals may hinder their progress. For instance, if a student tries to add too many details or elaborations to their assignments, they may lose focus of the initial question or fail to complete the project in time.
Inform Your Child To Keep Their Plans Flexible To Account For Any Changes Necessary
Explain to your child that they may experience some setbacks and should be prepared to handle them. It may be something as simple as not finding the necessary materials immediately or having difficulty brainstorming ideas. If this occurs, the student should have options for recuperating some time, such as canceling any outings scheduled or simply spending more time on a task than previously estimated. Always ask your child to begin working on assignments as soon as possible to avoid rushing in order to complete it and to produce quality work.
Hopefully, with these four easy steps, you can help your child learn how to focus, avoid procrastination and reduce anxiety when completing their assignments in school.
Dowd, T., & Tierney, J. (2005). Teaching social skills to youth. (2nd ed.). Boys Town, NE: Boys Town Press.