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Parallel Play as a Procrastination
June 28, 2002

"The child supplies the power but the parents have to do the steering." —Benjamin Spock


In the book, Procrastination: Why You Do it, What to Do about It (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing, 1983), authors Jane B Burka and Lenora Yuen offer this unique approach to conquering procrastination:

"As children develop, there is a specific period when they are toddlers during which they engage in 'parallel play.' That is, they play beside each other with their own toys, rather than with each other. In the same way, you can arrange to work on your project with someone who works separately on his or her own task. For example, we know several people who hate to prepare their tax returns and get together every March for sessions they call 'tax torture.' Each person brings a large box filled with the forms, checks, receipts, and papers he or she needs. Then they all sit down together at a large table, moaning and groaning, but gradually get through the dreaded task.

"You can arrange to work separately or together on all kinds of things that you've been postponing. One woman brought her ironing, which she hated to do, over to a friend's house, while the other woman wrote overdue thank you notes for her wedding presents. An accountant arranged to meet a friend at the local library on Saturday mornings so that both could catch up on work they hadn't finished at their respective offices. They agreed that their offices and their homes would be more distracting environments."

Are you an early childhood faculty member? If so, you should check for potential textbooks at www.ChildCareExchange.com


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