But it can be a harmful one for your child as he moves through middle school and into high school.

Sometimes, children procrastinate because starting an assignment seems scary.

  • Check to see that your child understands the assignment. Have him talk to his teacher right away if he doesn’t.

  • Help him break down the assignment into small steps. For example, he could read 10 pages on the first day.

Sometimes, there are just too many distractions.

  • Help your child work out a schedule and stick to it. First, include enough time for schoolwork. Then include time for the phone, TV, even chores. Encourage him to do these during their scheduled times only, at least for now.

  • Try a routine for getting down to work. Make it the same each day—come home, change clothes, quick snack, start work.

Some children would rather not do something if they can’t do it perfectly.

  • Emphasize that your child’s job is to learn, and no one has ever learned without making a few mistakes.

  • Model for your child. When you make a mistake, point it out, but don’t be critical of yourself. Instead, say, “I’ll think about what I can do differently next time.”

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