Sometimes it can be so hard to describe to someone what anxiety feels like, so that they get how scary, distracting, painful, and confusing it can be. When someone gets it, though, we feel less alone. The young person in the video below beautifully and eloquently describes her first hand experience of anxiety. I hope it can help you to feel less alone.
Procrastination is a tool many children and adolescents use before a dreaded task, be it a household chore or school assignment. "I'll do it later" "...in five minutes" "...after this game" are all common manifestations of procrastination. For most, the task still gets done despite having put it off, maybe just a little later than intended. For others, however, the task never gets done. Homework is left unfinished, assignments are not handed it, and the bedroom remains a mess. All of the above can be frustrating and stressful for everybody involved, including the young person.
The reasons kids procrastinate can vary. Maybe the task is too boring or too difficult, maybe other activities are too engaging to stop, or maybe they don't know how to get started and stay focused until the task is done. Perhaps there is anxiety and perfectionism or there are too many distractions around them. Low self-esteem and self-critical thoughts can also make getting started on a task difficult. The strategies for dealing with procrastination really depend on the reasons for it in the first place. For example, if a child doesn't know how to get started on a large assignment, they might need help breaking the task down into manageable chunks. If anxiety is high, doing some relaxation activities before getting started on homework can sometimes help.
Being curious and having a conversation with your young person about what's making it hard for them to get started can often lead to greater clarity about how to help, fewer arguments, and less stress.
Just by paying attention to something as simple as breathing in and out, we can grow our awareness in other areas, such as when our anxiety is building, or when we need to rest. Mindfulness meditation is not just for adults. Children and adolescents can benefit from this simple practice. Annaka Harris provides some short guided meditations for children aged 6-10 on her website. Research on the usefulness and effectiveness of mindfulness for children abounds, summaries of which can be found on the website Mindfulness for Children . Some benefits of mindfulness discovered through research include enhancement of kindness, patience, compassion, attention, and impulse control.