The Procrastinating Child: A Handbook for Adults to Help Children Stop Putting Things Off

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Parents, grandparents, teachers, supervisors, even baby-sitters, can be driven to distraction by a child's repeated procrastination. However, their distress is nothing compared to the toll procrastination takes on the child-eroding self-confidence, undermining self-esteem and relationships, increasing anxiety, and paving the way for similar behavior as an adult that can be even more costly.Helping a child stop procrastinating is one of the best gifts an adult can share, and Rita Emmett's informative and engaging ...
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The Procrastinating Child: A Handbook for Adults to Help Children Stop Putting Things Off

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Parents, grandparents, teachers, supervisors, even baby-sitters, can be driven to distraction by a child's repeated procrastination. However, their distress is nothing compared to the toll procrastination takes on the child-eroding self-confidence, undermining self-esteem and relationships, increasing anxiety, and paving the way for similar behavior as an adult that can be even more costly.Helping a child stop procrastinating is one of the best gifts an adult can share, and Rita Emmett's informative and engaging new book is the place to start. Based on her own procrastination and parenting seminars and on interviews with hundreds of people about what works and what doesn't, Emmett offers proven techniques to defuse the frictions caused by youthful procrastination. Her central point is that, far from being a character flaw, procrastination—in children as in adults—is usually a habit that can be changed. Whether avoiding chores or homework or neglecting goals—or in dozens of other situations—children of all ages procrastinate for many reasons:
  • feeling overwhelmed or confused and not knowing where to begin
  • lack of motivation
  • a subversive desire to assert control by not doing what's asked
  • a dislike of the task
  • subconscious fears or anxieties about failure
  • poor time management skills In each case, Emmett provides strategies for breaking through a child's defense mechanisms or reluctance to talk, and for establishing rules and guidelines that encourage young children and teenagers alike to face obligations in a timely way. Lighthearted and rewarding, The Procrastinating Child is an invaluable resource.

Author Biography: Rita Emmett's first book, The Procrastinator's Handbook, has sold over 100,00 copies. Now, beleaguered parents can rejoice! Rita has turned her expert attention to children's procrastination in her new book, The Procrastinating Child (October 2002). Her many credentials include teaching parenting seminars for 18 years at a Family Service counseling agency in the Chicago area. Additionally, she is licensed to teach Parent Effectiveness Training and is certified for Systematic Training for Effectiveness Training. A media natural, Rita has made over 100 radio and TV appearances, including The Today Show where she was interviewed by Katie Couric. She has also written articles for Family Circle, The National Enquirer, Bottom Line Personal, as well as other magazines and newspapers. For twenty years Rita has been a professional speaker who has presented training seminars on both Conquering Procrastination and Time Management. Born the world's greatest procrastinator, she learned how to beat putting-off behavior, and is now a "Recovering Procrastinator." Her personal mastery of the art of doing it now led her to develop talks and seminars to help others and she has taught thousands of people the secrets to conquer procrastination. Among her many clients are: American Lung Association, AT&T, Bartlett Learning Center, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Blue Cross Blue Shield, U.S. Department of the NAVY, U.S. Department of Commerce & Community Affairs, Goodwill Industries, Lucent Technologies, National Kidney Foundation, and UPS. She also presented a seminar for booksellers at BookExpo America, 2000. Rita Emmett earned her MS in Adult Education from National Louis University and a BA in English and Psychology from Northeastern Illinois University. She is a member of The National Speakers Association, Professional Speakers of Illinois, American Society of Training and Development, Professional Communicators' Roundtable, and Off Campus Writers' Workshop.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Parents frustrated by their child's tendency to delay starting a book report or cleaning her room will find this guide by Emmet (The Procrastinator's Handbook) to be a valuable resource. Emmet points out that schools rarely teach time management; this handbook fills in the gap, helping parents understand why their children procrastinate and how they can help kids organize their schedules and assignments. While parents may find procrastinators to be frustrating, Emmet notes that kids who delay aren't doing it just to irk mom and dad; rather, the child may feel overwhelmed, distracted and helpless. Perfectionism and procrastination, she claims, often go hand in hand, so parents need to communicate that it's okay to make mistakes. Helping children break tasks into small steps will also waylay the daunting fear that often accompanies procrastination. Emmet's approach is practical (helpful summaries at the conclusion of each chapter keep readers on task) and her argument that procrastination is a bad habit that can be corrected will be reassuring news for young procrastinators and their parents. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780641938542
  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Publication date: 10/28/2002
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Rita Emmett is the bestselling author of The Procrastinator’s Handbook, and she is a professional speaker whose seminars on “Conquering Procrastination” are immensely popular. Her clients have included AT&T, Mercedes Benz, and the National Kidney Foundation. Rita Emmett lives in Des Plaines, Illinois.
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Read an Excerpt

Procrastination really does have a powerful impact on children’s self-esteem and self worth, and they start to think that they aren’t good enough or adequate as human beings.

The first step is, if you are in charge of the house rules or of any rules that could impact this child’s life, establish rules now that support doing chores and tasks right away, and not putting them off.

There actually was a time I was a perfect parent and I knew all the answers -- then, the first baby came along and suddenly I realized I didn’t even know what the questions were.

Choose your battles.

When you don’t have enough room for all your stuff, you don’t need more room, you need less stuff.

Most likely your child does not enjoy being a procrastinator. It’s up to you to help him or her find a different way of doing things.

Often parents are working to solve problems without knowing what the real problem is.

Children can learn to abide by rules as long as they believe they are real.

When children hate doing something because it’s a miserable job, they have the uncanny ability to spread that misery around to everyone within earshot.

Do the worst first.

Sometimes children procrastinate simply because they really don’t know how to do what they are supposed to be doing.

Often parents presume that children know how to do something because you showed them how to do it once or twice.

Children often think that many aspects of their lives are out of their control, especially their procrastination.

Procrastination carries with it a great deal of shame.

As your children develop this habit of “work hard then reward yourself”, they are learning the secret of a balanced life that many adults have never mastered.

Perfectionism and procrastination go hand in hand; perfectionism is often what keeps kids from starting a project. “Everything has to be perfectly in place before I can begin.”

Have you lived long enough to know that many of the biggest lessons that you’ve learned in life have come from making mistakes?

One of the more subtle causes of procrastination is fear that can lurk in our subconscious and has the power to immobilize us.

Sadly, adults as well as children often put off doing things because they fear that success will burden them with more responsibility than they can handle.

Adults seldom have a clue as to how stressed children, even as young as preschoolers, can feel when they spend their days rushing from activity to activity.

Tips to Share With The Child
When you have so much to do,
You think you can’t get through it,
Break it into little chunks,
Then pick one out and do it.

Take the STING out of feeling overwhelmed
Select one task you’ve been putting off
Time yourself. Give the task one full hour
Ignore everything else. Focus on doing just this one task
No breaks allowed
Give yourself a reward when the job is done

Let HONEY sweeten those crummy jobs you hate to do
How can you make it less miserable?
Only focus on how you’ll feel afterwards, NOT how you’ll feel doing the job
Name a great reward ahead of time
Expect to do crummy jobs in your life. Everyone has to do them sometimes.
Yell out, “I did the crummy job first. Now I’m free!”

This HIVE will help conquer that fear that is causing you to procrastinate
Have a conversation; talking about a fear helps move it from the subconscious to the conscious mind, and reduces its power over you.
Identify the fear; give it a name.
View it simply as a feeling; if you procrastinate because you feel scared, go ahead and do it scared.
Exaggerate the fear; balloon it; what’s the worst that could happen?

Let the Clutter BUGS help you
Break now the habit of “Save, collect and keep.”
Undertake some action – don’t leave things in a heap.
Get rid of stuff that clutters up your brain.
Stop bringing in more clutter that starts it all again.

Clear Out Paper Clutter in a FLASH
Feed your wastebasket.
Let go of papers (& old magazines, books and notebooks) that you don’t need.
Act on it NOW – take it to where or to whom it belongs.
Sit and Sort; Stand & Deliver.
Handle each piece of paper only once.

Tips to Share With Your Child to Help Clear That BUSY Calendar
Be selective; prioritize your activities; choose your battles.
Use a calendar to block out “Catch up days.”
Set limits; pause, breathe, slow down.
Yes can get you in trouble; learn to say no.

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