So you brought the guitar, booked the lessons and now your child doesn’t want to practice!
This is such a frustrating situation for both parents and children, so how do you get around this?
These three simple tips have the power to turn a practice frown upside down and stop the arguments, taking your child’s practice to a much happier place.
Let Your Child Pick Their Practice Time
An easy way to get your child onboard with practice is to let them have some say and make some decisions. Give them a choice of times in the day they can practice and let them choose their own practice time.
Autonomy has been found to be a big part of motivation and by giving your child choices they will feel more committed and empowered as they have made the decision to practice rather than having it forced upon them.
Give Them Direction Rather Than A Question
When I ask parents why their child didn’t practice much this week they will often say “because they didn’t want to”.
More often than not parents start a practice session with the question; “ shall we practice guitar now?” and are shocked when they get the inevitable NO!!
Well the good news is you shouldn’t be shocked at all as this is a common response. From a child’s perspective you have just asked them to do something that is challenging, uncomfortable and exposes their weakness. So it should not come as a surprise that they would rather watch TV or play on the iPad instead.
Many parents interpret this to mean that their child doesn’t enjoy guitar any more or is loosing interest and stop the lessons. What the child really needs at this time is support, encouragement and motivation to help build their confidence and keep them moving forward.
A really simple fix to avoiding the post “would you like to practice your guitar tonight?” argument is to turn the question into a direction such as “it’s time to practice your guitar now” this simple reworking makes a HUGE difference.
By removing the question you have removed the choice and directed them subtly to what YOU want them to do rather than what THEY want to do.
So when it’s time for the next practice session begin with a direction rather than a question.
Start With A Game
As parents we want our children to enjoy guitar practice and a simple way to do that is to make it FUN. Now that might sound simple but it is easy to fall into the BORING trap.
A game that worked really well with my two girls is hide the guitar. As the name suggests the idea is to hide the guitar and your child has to find it. A game like this starts practice off on a high and gives both parent and child an excuse to have FUN.
As the practice session continues, look for more ways to inject FUN into the proceedings and watch as your child runs to their practice area each day eager to start practicing.
These three tips are simple but at the same time they are powerful and I have seen them turn stubborn child around and save parents from pulling their hair out.
Leave a comment below and let me know any tips you have for practice time.