How to Curb Your Child's Laziness

How to Curb Your Child's Laziness

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might" (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

As Christian homeschooling parents, we've been given the awesome responsibility to love, teach, inspire, and motivate our children. Whether they are expected to make their beds, help prepare a meal, or finish a research paper on time, homeschooling parents need to instill a biblical perspective toward work. To put a stop to laziness in your homeschool, keep in mind these four helpful suggestions.

Discover the reason

The reasons for laziness are as varied as your children's personalities. Some are lazy because they're engaging in a power struggle for control. Other children might procrastinate because they want to avoid a difficult task, such as a math assignment or a lengthy homeschool project. Still others fall victim to laziness simply because they want attention or they're used to having everything done for them. Whatever the reason, it's important not to confuse laziness with debilitating factors like poor physical health, a handicap, mental anxiety, or depression.

Reflect on your own actions

When it comes to overcoming laziness, homeschool parents need to be a role model. For instance, do you get up on time, keep yourself busy, and avoid procrastinating when it comes to doing chores you don't enjoy? If your children observe your positive, disciplined perspective toward work, they'll also develop a right-heart attitude toward their chores and homeschool lessons. After all, children usually mirror their parents. If you're expecting them to work hard and you don't, the double standard will soon become apparent and defeat your best-made plans.

Implement steps toward self-discipline

Once you determine the reason for your children's laziness, you'll have better success in combating the excuses for careless, neglectful ways. Help your children become faithful in their work with the following:

  • • Assign age-appropriate responsibilities and show them how to make even the most tedious chores fun.
  • • Resist the tendency to take over. Sure, it's easier to quickly do the work yourself, but make your children finish their tasks before they're allowed to do anything else.
  • • Let them know how much the family genuinely needs their help. Children seem to rally to the cause when they understand their significance and place within the family unit. Provide explanations like, "I need you to clean the table so we can start school" or "I'm busy feeding the baby right now, so that would really help me."
  • • Teach your children how to prioritize and manage their time without distractions like TV, video games, and neighborhood friends.
  • • Provide scriptural support with verses your children can memorize to defeat temptations, such as Proverbs 6:9, Proverbs 18:9, and Hebrews 6:11-12. Reinforce that God created man to work. "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
  • • Explain the satisfaction work brings, along with its reverse. Not contributing to daily work responsibilities will make them feel unproductive and those around them resentful.
  • • Break larger projects down into smaller, more achievable segments. For instance, completing book reports, weeding gardens, and cleaning rooms are less threatening when time management skills divide the job into multiple, step-by-step tasks.
  • • Compliment your children. When they complete things they really didn't want to do, praise them for their efforts. For example, "Wow, you mowed the whole lawn by yourself without me even asking! Great job!"


Allow the consequences

Stop laziness with its natural consequences. If your children know they need to gather their laundry and don't do it, they're going to wear dirty clothes. If they don't keep their rooms clean, they'll have a difficult time finding belongings or discover favorite items broken. If they insist on sleeping in, they'll miss out on fun family activities.


What successful strategies have you used to keep your children on task while homeschooling?

Comments(3 comments)


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JENNIFER B 11/07/2008 07:31:42

THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!

JENNIFER B 11/07/2008 07:35:51

This could not have come at a better time for me. I was researching how to get my son back in public school this morning, because I am at the end of my rope with his laziness. I was asking God for help and guidance on how to change his attitude toward chores and homeschool work and here God has answered my prayers. Thank you so very much. I will not give up....this week.

JEANNE B 11/12/2008 18:12:12

I developed a checklist that includes everything from getting up and brushing their teeth to homeschool sessions to chores to feeding the cats. My son has a hard time exercising the self-discipline needed to complete his checklist each day. I'm flexible when the homeschool topic is especially difficult or there are other extenuating circumstances, but otherwise he either finishes his checklist or doesn't join in on watching a DVD or playing a game until he IS finished. It isn't easy to enforce, but it HAS helped us to make a lot of progress. I hope this helps others.

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