Procrastination and Kids- Read This Now, Not Later!

April 28, 2014

I meant to write this post last week….or was it the week before that? Maybe it was last month. Well, you get the idea! In short, I am the occasional procrastinator. Fortunately, this challenge doesn’t afflict me too often but for many kids it is a habit they have fallen into. If your child is a frequent procrastinator or just tries out a little procrastination occasionally, we’ve got some tips that can get him or her back on track.

homework kid

  • Think about why all of us procrastinate. Sometimes it is because the job at hand is not fun or we have more exciting things to do. Other times a task seems too difficult or out of our comfort zone. Some of us may experience a little perfectionism. Maybe we wait to get started because we fear failure or even fear success may lead to higher expectations. Oh, and sometimes we procrastinate because we got away with it last time! Understanding what motivates your child’s actions may help you problem solve.
  • Resist the urge to bail kids out when they procrastinate. When my daughter waited until the last moment to complete her science fair project, it took nearly all of my self-control to stick to our expectations that she do her project with only a little support from us as parents, that she do her research independently and that she keep her regular bedtime. She learned an important lesson about the stressful feeling that comes when you find yourself pushing to finish a project at the last minute. She also discovered that she can perform well under pressure!
  • Offer choices when possible. “Do you want to start with your math homework or your reading first?”
  • Know your priorities and stick to them. Don’t be afraid to have your child miss a favorite TV show or even a sports practice if procrastination is becoming a major problem.
  • Be sure your expectations are developmentally appropriate. Expect your two year old to pick up her toys when she is done playing but don’t ask her to organize her book shelf. Expect more from older kids or kids that have had practice!
  • Celebrate what they accomplish. If you’ve asked your child to pick up the play room, celebrate progress as it happens. Try not to walk in and comment on all of the toys that are still on the floor. Instead, tell them that you can see progress offer encouragement. Remember to avoid the pitfall of “re-doing” what your kids have just done when it comes to chores at home. If you ask your kids to fold laundry, be prepared to teach them how and be willing to accept their best. Don’t re-fold the clothes to your own standards as this can make a child feel even less excited to be helpful the next time you ask.
  • Help your child develop the skill of breaking a major task into manageable parts. If cleaning her bedroom is the challenge, perhaps she can start by putting books on the shelf, next put clothes in drawers, and finish by put ting toys in totes. An older child could write the tasks and check them off as they go. A younger child could do one task then come to their parent for a high five or hug and the next step. Another option is to set a timer for 15-30 minutes and encourage your child to work hard on the task for that length of time before taking a break. Then set another timer for the break and get back to work. As kids get older and have more practice they can have longer “on task” times and shorter breaks. Some kids will even forget to take a break after they’ve become engaged in the task at hand.
  • Create a schedule that allows for tasks to be completed in a timely manner. If a big homework project is due, ask your child to estimate how long the project will take in total (guess a little high.) Next, set aside some smaller doses of time on the calendar so that he can focus on keeping ahead of the task. If there is time left over, use it for something fun!
  • Be a good example. Perhaps the fact that I often wait until twenty minutes before guests are coming to frantically clean my house makes me unqualified to give this advice. However, when you find yourself procrastinating, talk about it in front of your child and problem solve so that they can learn with you as you improve.
  • Teach your child good goal setting. Help them make goals that are realistic, specific, and motivating. When they have more than one thing to attend to, help them make a list of priorities. Congratulate your child when they meet goals. Point out how fun it is to have time left for fun when we don’t procrastinate. You may even let kids pick rewards for themselves for goals accomplished.

Remember, all kids occasionally struggle with a project or task so don’t panic if your child is procrastinating here or there. Be consistent and positive. I should probably stop writing for today. I have a long list of tasks to complete today and blogging is one of my favorites! When it comes to my advice on procrastination, do as I say, not as I do! 🙂

Heather DeWit, Director of Childcare and Education Services

Financial Literacy and a Coffee

April 24, 2014

 Let’s dream for a moment. What would you do with $800? Don’t worry about where it came from. There are no strings attached. It is simply yours to use however you choose. What would you do with $800? Go ahead – close your eyes for a moment and dream.

In a recent class, we were discussing budgeting and accounting. One of my students stated that she spends, on average, $5 each time she buys coffee from one of those nationally recognized coffee shops. For her, that was about 3 times per week.


Doesn’t sound like much, does it? I grabbed my wallet and pulled out $60 (all the cash I had in it), and held it up. You should have seen my students’ eyes light up! Even my coffee-drinking student was quite intrigued by the prospect of an additional $60 in her pocket. Flashing the green, I quickly worked them through the math. That $60 in my hand was the amount she spent per month on coffee – a mere $5 at a time. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Help Your Child Choose a Book

April 23, 2014

 Preschool Reading

It is no secret that we are big library fans at LSS Childcare and Education. We are fortunate to have a great library system here in Sioux Falls and our students get to enjoy it! With so many fantastic choices, parents often ask how to know which book to have their child check out. Here are some tips:

  • Let your child take the lead! Encourage your child’s love of reading and excitement for books by letting them show you what catches their eye. Unless you think a topic is inappropriate, allow your child to read a book that he or she requests even if it is too difficult and they end up looking at pictures or asking you to help. That is a learning experience too. Maybe you could pick out a few additional books that are in their level.
  • Give your child plenty of time. Some library visits may need to be a quick one but whenever possible allow for a leisurely stroll through the shelves. You might just find a few moments to pick a book or two for you!
  • Choose books that appeal to your child’s interests. This might mean some non-fiction material about animals, sports, fashion, etc. It could also mean finding books that are funny or stories about kids their age.
  • Find a “just right” book for younger readers. One way to do this is to encourage the child to read the first page or so. If they count 5 words they don’t know on that first page the book might be too tough. Don’t worry though, if it is too tough for your child to read independently but looks interesting, that might mean it is a perfect book to read together! If your child occasionally ends up with one that is easy it can increase confidence. Ask your child’s teacher for tips on this as well!
  • Learn your library. Find out what the different parts of the children’s section are, where children should put books if they look at one and decide not to check it out and even what the names of the librarians are!
  • Turn success into more success by asking your child what they think of recent reads and why they are liked.  Remember what the favorite parts are and consider finding more books by the same author or with a similar style or topic.

Happy reading! -Heather DeWit

Today is #EarthDay

April 22, 2014

“I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues…Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” –Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

Earth Day is a special holiday that involves 1 billion participants from 192 different countries each year. As our world faces even greater environmental threats than those of generations before, one may wonder about the threats that the generations after us will be facing. Read the rest of this entry »

LSS Center for New Americans Thanks Community Partner

April 21, 2014

St. John American Lutheran of Sioux Falls was recognized recently as the 2013 LSS Distinguished Congregational Partner of the Year. St. John American is located just a few blocks from the LSS Refugee & Immigration Center.  When space was limited in LSS facilities, St. John American opened their doors for English and citizenship classes.

For nearly two years, St. John American has welcomed adult learners from around the world through their doors for adult education classes. St. John American has allowed LSS Refugee & Immigration Services to use their facility to provide English and citizenship education classes on weekdays. Through these classes, approximately 300 refugees and immigrants have been served, learning basic communication skills, English literacy and civics. Without this assistance from St. John American, it would not have been possible for the LSS Refugee & Immigration Services to teach these additional students. St. John American has been generous and hospitable to the new Americans in the Sioux Falls community. St. John American parishioners and staff have welcomed newly arriving refugees with invitations to meals and special events.

St. John is helping to meet the needs of New Americans in their community.

Students at St. John recently took class pictures to give as a “Thank you!”

Afternoon Classes at St. John

Afternoon Classes at St. John


Morning classes at St. John


2014 Week of the Young Child AND Purple up for Military Kids!

April 18, 2014

Each year the students, staff and community members at LSS’s Southern Hills Childcare and Education Program celebrate The Week of the Young Child. This yearly celebration honors early childhood teachers and the amazing children they educate. This year’s theme is “The Early Years are the Learning Years!” Year after year the kids, teachers and families enjoy fun special events and this year we were again impressed and honored by how many family members were able to take a few moments from their busy week to join the excitement.

  • On Monday, April 7 we enjoyed “Muffins with Mom.” The moms spent time in the gym with their sons and daughters for a special breakfast.
  • Tuesday, April 8 was the dads’ turn to enjoy some donuts. The kids were all dressed up to show their favorite teams or characters so the day was filled with fun!
  • On Wednesday, April 9 we tried something new. We invited parents to be advocates for early learning and post a cute picture or story about their child. Many kids did just that, telling why it is so important to them to have their child learning each day.  To view some of the posts, go to our program Facebook at and click on “posts by others”. The kids also enjoyed a very fun Character Counts puppet show with CATT, the character cat. Even the toddler classes joined in the fun! If you look at the picture below, you will notice that some of the kids are wearing silly outfits for mismatch day.

  • Thursday, April 10 was definitely our busiest day as we had record turnout for our “Goodies with Grandparents” event. The kids were showing off their favorite colors.
  • Friday, April 11 was a favorite dress-up day for many kids (and teachers!) Pajama day made us all very comfy as we had our noses in books for our reading readiness celebration.

Last, but certainly not least, we participated in “Purple Up for Military Kids” Day.  April 15, 2014 has been proclaimed a special day way to show appreciation for our military kids by wearing something purple.  All citizens of South Dakota were encouraged to wear purple on that date and many of us did just that!


Staff in purple shirts and even purple shoes showed support!

Thanks for the fun everyone!

-Heather DeWit

Outstanding Mentors, Community Partner recognized

April 16, 2014

LSS Mentoring Services honored area residents who volunteer as mentors with a breakfast on Wednesday, April 16.

At the event, the Citibank Mentor of the Year, the First Premier/Premier Bankcard Community Partner of the Year and the Sanford Rookie Mentor of the Year awards were presented. You can read about the nominees here. Wells Fargo was named the Community Partner of the Year, Dana Hagen was selected as the Mentor of the Year and Chad Bishop won the Rookie of the Year Award. Read the rest of this entry »

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