Child procrastinating? Why kids struggle with time management

By Julie Rawe

Why do some kids put off doing homework until the last minute? Or wait so long to take out the dog that the dog has an accident? 

There are lots of reasons kids procrastinate. Some would just rather be doing something else. But for other kids, there’s more to it. They may have trouble with specific skills related to time management. 

Doing things on time involves organization and planning. These abilities are part of a set of skills known as executive function. When kids struggle with executive function, it can make it hard for them to manage their time.

Here are three common trouble spots:

  • Trouble with makes it hard to keep information in mind long enough to plan and complete tasks. 
  • Trouble with focus can sidetrack kids from even starting a task. 
  • Trouble estimating time means some kids aren’t sure what five minutes feels like compared to what 30 minutes feels like. This is especially common in kids with .

Challenges in these areas can make it hard to start and complete tasks. Kids may not know how to plan out work or leave enough time. Keep reading to learn how you can help kids with time management.

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    About the author

    About the author

    Julie Rawe is the special projects editor at Understood.

    Reviewed by

    Reviewed by

    Ellen Braaten, PhD is the director of LEAP at Massachusetts General Hospital.