Why Do Some Kids Struggle With Planning?

Ann has a report due on Monday that will count for 25% of her English grade. Mom feels that she needs to nag Ann to start this report because Ann will always wait to the last minute to start her assignments. Despite the increased tension anxiety felt in the house from Mom’s nagging, Ann won’t start the report til Sunday. You know how the rest of this story turns out….Ann is up til 3:00 am Monday morning to finish the paper because of poor planning. Mom is furious with Ann since she never seems to learn her lesson about time management.

The ability to set long term goals as well as short term goals can be a difficult task for some students.( Maybe some adults too!) There are several reasons for this:

  • The poor concept of time means that they really did think there was enough time
  • Their lack of foresight interferes with recognizing the disadvantages of delaying the project.
  • Their lack of hindsight prevents them for recognizing that procrastination didn’t work last time.
  • Children who are disorganized tend to have an extremely difficult time with initiating and executing a task all the way to completion.
  • They can’t resist the temptation to do something else more appealing.
  • Some kids are overwhelmed by having to do a project at all so they end up putting it off.
  • Sometimes the child just forgets about the project.
  • Most of these faults are the result of underdeveloped brains, not the child.

How can parents help?

Parents seem to have tried many tactics in the attempt to fight their children’s procrastination. Yelling doesn’t work. (It hasn’t yet, has it?) It’s really not surprising since punishment does not alter a child’s brain or teach the needed skills. You wouldn’t expect screaming to cure dyslexia. Why would you expect it to cure a planning /organizational problem? Planning skills will allow him to feel more confident and less stressed, and have a sense of pride in his work.

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