How to toss out the LAZY in your child?

Does your child waste all his spare time watching screen or doing nothing? Do they get irritated when they are asked to do any chores or study? Parents today are often found getting frustrated over the laid back attitude of their children as they cannot seem to fathom being lazy at such young age. A 2018 report by World Health Organization (WHO) showed Pakistan amongst the second tier of lazy nations in the world. This report was published in light of physical exercise or other activity that public engages in on daily basis. It is very fortunate for parents that laziness is not a trait but a habit. This article shows how to toss out the lazy in your child with various parenting tips as well as understanding of the habit of laziness.

Consequences of being a Lazy Child

As parents, it is crucial to understand your role as a guide and motivator for your child to develop healthy habits and traits. Laziness in children is and should be a major concern for parents. Psychologists identify several outcomes of laziness which can be psychically, emotionally and financially damaging for your child.

  • Bad academic performance
  • Impaired focus and attention in studies and daily chores
  • Learning delays
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Lost interest in putting efforts in anything
  • Carrying the same attitude in adult life which can negatively affect future growth

Tips to Toss out the Lazy in your Child

When it comes to laziness, typical reprimanding and arm-twisting by parents doesn’t bore good results in terms of increasing children’ motivation. Whether its procrastination, lack of care or general boredom, there is always an underlying reason that needs to be identified. The push-pull struggle of parents often result in worse behavior and that is why psychologists and educators suggest several techniques that can alter this attitude into a more productive and motivated one.

  • Do Self-evaluation and Set good example

Children do as they see. It is very common for lazy parents to have lazy children. If parents have the habit of procrastinating and delaying tasks, children also lose the urge to complete tasks in time. This in turn develops the habit of sluggishness. To encourage an upright and active attitude in children, parents should evaluate their own behavior first.

Do you wait till the end to arrange things for any event? Is it common to delay cleaning up the room before you leave? Do you leave the dishes dirty till the end? Does your delaying habits make you panic in the end? Understand that your child is observing this attitude and is more prone to follow same path in his studies, projects and daily chores. When you try to fix your child’s attitude, it creates confusion for child, making him more averse to change.

  • Do NOT label your child as lazy

In an effort to change lazy attitude in your child, remember to NEVER label your child with a bad attribute. Center for Parenting Education asserts that labels ‘Stick’, ‘Speak’ and ‘Cost’.  

Children are not born with positive self-image and they absorb information about themselves from other people. In a way, parents act as ‘psychological mirrors’ for their children. Anything they label the child with, has a lasting effect on their personalities. Just like calling a child stupid or dumb can make them think that they are dumb, calling them lazy can make them lazy. It makes them accept it as their nature. Try other ways to encourage changing their attitude. You can tell them “It is not a good thing to delay studying for the test, let’s get over with it so you can do other stuff” or be assertive like “I expect you to clean your room before you leave it as everyone else does in the house”.

  • Don’t make things Easy for them

One of the biggest issues with parents today is their impatience. The busy schedules make parents feel that they can do the work faster than the child. It is why they keep on making things ready for the child. Whether it is getting them ready for school, preparing their bags, cleaning up their room or cleaning table. In Pakistani culture, this issue is even more prevalent as boys are not expected to do anything on their own. Even for girls, mothers are expected to get everything ready until they reach a certain age.

Once your child reaches the age of 6-7 years, make them do small chores like getting ready for school, preparing their bags during evening or before bedtime, and helping with placing dishes on table and getting them after meal, getting water themselves instead of calling out mothers and maids etc.

Read More: 4 Big Emotions to talk about with School-going children

  • Set High Expectations and Rewards for doing things right

It is important to understand that making children ‘Do’ work is not sufficient to disperse the lazy attitude in them. Keep high expectations from them in each chore to increase their motivation as well. For instance, if you give them a task to clean dishes and they didn’t do it properly, tell them to wash again. Once they have done it properly, make sure to appreciate them. This will make them motivated to do everything more efficiently to get it done right the first time or try again. This practice should be applied across all tasks, be it home chores, studies, homework or their personal care.

Another good technique is to reward them for the tasks done. The reward can be in any form like material goods, outing plans, trips or even appreciation through words. Rewarding them for getting things done on time effectively can create the sense of achievement as well as understanding of the significance of active and energetic behavior.

  • Have regular family Activity time and interaction with Nature

Most Pakistani families do not have similar household chores as western countries like lawn mowing or dusting and cleaning as more reliance is on maids. However, there are plenty of activities that can be planned for weekends to involve more family members and teach benefits of being proactive and productive. For instance, organizing cupboards, clothes and books, getting rid of useless things in house, cleaning of bicycles, cars or motorcycles, baking or cooking something together etc.

Another activity that is highly suggested by psychologists to draw out laziness in children is increase their exposure to nature. That means going to parks, open spaces for walking, cycling, playing badminton outside etc. Going out of house in itself is an activity for lazy or even busy individuals. Therefore, making children to get ready, out of their comfortable sofas or beds, away from screen and into the natural settings can have a great impact on their brains. Even with extreme weathers in Pakistan, parents should take children outdoor to nearby shops, markets or parks.

Concluding Remarks for Parents

It is very important to not equate laziness with downtime. Children, like adults, need some downtime or free time to do things that they would like, be it reading, watching TV or movies, playing, or just relax. Micromanaging each hour for some activity will push them over the edge instead of motivating them and can adversely affect their personalities.

We are living in an era of quick fixes and our lifestyles are making children devoid of hard work. This in turn makes parents’ job tougher to produce marvelous children and contributors to society. It is a demanding job, yet parents need to inculcate above mentioned tips to diffuse the lazy attitude of children in order to make them operative individuals in future.

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