Procrastination feels good.
I mean it…the brain literally FEELS good when your child with ADHD, Autism or Sensory Processing Disorder procrastinates on completing homework.
When your child struggles with learning, their brain seeks alternatives to homework and is rewarded with good-feeling chemicals because they effectively avoid one type of pain.
Add in a battle with mom or dad over homework and the brain feels even more rewarded because they wore you down and you backed off.
Wait. Hold the phones. Back up. The arguments we get into every night over make my child’s brain feel good?
In a sense, yes. Allow me to be more precise.
As humans, we are led to make decisions that avoid pain and move us toward pleasure.
If your child struggles with homework, the brain perceives homework-time (or struggling and being seen as “stupid”) as painful and everything else as more pleasurable.
That’s where the drain of negotiation (“I’ll start after I finish this level in my game.”), begging (“Please, I’ll do it later! Just let me play outside until supper.”), and distracting behavior (“Perfect” time for a meltdown, anyone?) comes in.
These behaviors flood the brain with chemicals that feel good – like eating chocolate.
Your child’s unconscious brain feels good for a short period of time even though it leads to a dark cloud in your relationship.
So what can be done to teach your child’s brain that procrastination – or “chocolate” – isn’t the solution?
Well, funny enough, real chocolate COULD be the solution.
You want to consider that your child’s brain is pursuing happiness when they procrastinate or battle against homework. It’s just that they unconsciously trade their evil struggle with homework for another, [slightly less] evil struggle, with you.
This is the point you want to consider options that flood the brain with happy chemicals (Parenting Pillar 3 of the Mad2Glad Blueprint) and link them with homework so your child develops a new sensation around this everyday activity.
4 “Happy Homework” Tips To Get It Done:
- Start homework with a piece of chocolate. It may not be a long-term solution but the brain gets a spike of potent chemicals along with a message of “It feels good to start homework,” rather than avoiding it altogether.
- Move the body. Doing exercise that moves the spine in several directions (e.g. kids’ yoga) releases natural dopamine and gives the brain a pleasant sensation prior to beginning homework.
- Choose a better time of day. Waiting until the end of an evening to do homework means there is very little neurological resource leftover to focus and problem solve. Starting after some afternoon “down time” (but before supper) or waiting until first thing in the morning means the brain has more power.
- Do less, and in smaller chunks. When your child is overwhelmed with everything on their plate it is worth determining what is most important and creating a step-by-step plan with rewards. This builds a habit and thought-pattern around homework so it feels more do-able and fun.
Do you want more solutions to gain cooperation and have a more harmonious home?
Check out the Mad2Glad Blueprint that is essential for nurturing calm and control.
This tested, proven, and efficient approach can work for you even if you’ve tried everything. We know it can be tough. But we also know there is an answer.