The Sunday Scaries: 6 Ways to Stop Children from Procrastinating

Every Sunday night, after a full day of sports, birthday parties, multiple meals and snacks, when you’re ready to leave the kitchen and head to the couch to watch t.v. or read a book, after you’ve told your children to pack up for school…three times, your children hit you with it. Your 3rd grader has a project due on Monday…and they didn’t start it. Your 8th grader has to read 50 pages of Lord of the Flies and annotate so that he/she/they can present to the class the next day. Your 10th grader has a chemistry test first period on Monday morning, and he/she/they hasn’t studied. 

You’re twitching and trying not to scream at your child. How can you avoid the Sunday Scaries? 

Here are 6 suggestions.

  • Boost your child’s confidence. First, please recognize that your child might be overwhelmed by an assignment, afraid that they won’t be able to complete it satisfactorily. Telling your child that you have faith in his/her/their ability to do a great job goes a long way. When a child feels that his/her/their efforts are acknowledged, a safe space is established, and he/her/they might feel motivated to get started. 
  • Set a weekend study schedule. Make sure that your child has a set time for schoolwork. We know that doing homework over the weekend is no one’s favorite activity, but if you set aside a specific time each weekend to complete tasks, it will be a more productive and manageable experience for your child. This, in turn, will help your child manage any anxiety associated with completing schoolwork over the weekends. 
  • Make sure that your child makes a “To Do” list. Your child should start this list on Mondays, checking off and adding to it throughout the week. By keeping track of homework assignments and upcoming exams, your child will see what is expected of him/her/them. Making “To Do” lists not only provides your child with a sense of order and the potential for accomplishment, it also helps to reduce a child’s stress.
  • Scaffold tasks. While making a “To Do” list will help a child recognize responsibilities, breaking down those responsibilities into manageable tasks will help him/her/them to complete their homework. If your child knows that he/she/they have a poster project due for science research the following Monday, then he/she/they can break down his/her/their project into simpler, more manageable tasks. First, they can do the research for the project, setting a completion date for this task. Next, he/she/they can create and collect graphs and images that he/she/they needs for the poster, setting a completion date for this task. And finally, he/she/they can assemble the poster, setting a completion date for this task. Therefore, one large project becomes three simpler tasks that can be completed within a reasonable amount of time. 
  • Bribery works. Don’t underestimate it. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Parents don’t have to offer up a new car. Rather parents can simply entice children to motivate. Extra ice cream at Sunday night dinner if your child finishes all homework before dinnertime is an easy, low stakes way to motivate some children. Even a reminder that if he/she/they finishes their homework and studying before dinner on Sunday, he/she/they will have more free time to text with friends, play video games, watch a movie, or simply relax. 
  • Work with a tutor referred by GAMECHANGER Tutoring Connection.  Connecting with an executive functioning tutor who can help to keep your child organized and on top of assignments will relieve significant stress and fighting at home. Parents should not be responsible for ensuring that their child finishes homework, studies for tests, or has done their reading assignments. That is the child’s responsibility. Working with a tutor referred by GAMECHANGER Tutoring Connection will help to teach your child to become a more independent, responsible student…with the obvious goal of having these skills carry over into adulthood. 

So, stop the Sunday Scaries. Whether your child is in elementary school, middle school, or high school, take his/her/their work off your plate. Stop ending the weekends with a screaming match, a more stressed out than usual child, and a house filled with tension. Implement these strategies, and make every Sunday a fun day.


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