If your child takes lessons for something - whether it be piano, violin, gymnastics, or karate, it is important for them to practice their new skill. Despite this need, it is often like pulling teeth to get your child to take a few minutes each day to practice. Kids may see a rock star or professional athlete on television and dream to be just like them someday.
What the kids don't see on TV are the years and years of practice it took to reach such a level. Kids may even compare themselves to famous musicians or athletes and feel like giving up because they have so far to go.
How can parents teach their child the value of practice? How do you instill the pleasure and pride of mastering a new skill in your youngster? Here are five ways to encourage your child to practice, without raising your voice or pulling your hair out.
If children don't enjoy what they are doing, they will likely put up a fight. How can a parent make practicing fun? One way is to do enjoyable things together that revolve around the activity. If your child takes ballet, go to a professional production. If your kid is learning guitar, attend a concert together. Perhaps there are movies or books that incorporate the particular activity. For example, if your child has to practice spelling, watch a movie about a spelling bee.
Another way to make practice enjoyable is to make a game out of it. If your child is learning a new song on his instrument, have him or her play through the song four times: the first normally; the second, standing on one leg; the third time with eyes closed; and the fourth as fast as they can. Get the boring, tedious parts of practice over with first, and then focus on the more enjoyable phases of practice.
Some children may find it fun to play or perform for friends or family members. Getting the extra attention from an audience may give the child a sense of accomplishment and will help to define his identity. So give plenty of opportunities to show off new skills in front of others.
Just because you enjoy a certain activity doesn't mean your child will. Maybe you've always dreamed your child would be the concert pianist or the football player you never were. Forcing a child to be something he or she is not never works. Instead, expose kids to a variety of sports, hobbies, or instruments and then let each child decide which he or she would most like to learn.
Even though daily practicing may be hard, remind your child how wonderful the end result will be. When they can easily read music or make a free throw, they will realize their hours of practice paid off. Emphasize to your child the years of practice it took for top performers to reach their level of skill. Remind children of where they were a few months ago and how far they have come. The practice is paying off already.
The less distractions the better when it comes to practice time. Keep the room quiet and peaceful so the child can focus. Keep other siblings out of the way and the TV off. Second, it may help to keep a consistent practice schedule. If the child knows what is expected at a certain time each day, he or she will be more likely to follow through. Choose a time when your child is at his her best - not cranky or worn out.
Most kid love for their parents to be involved with their activities. If you're present during practice time, refrain from helping too much. Give your child time to work through the new assignment on his or her own. Never criticize mistakes, but show enthusiasm and give praise for good effort and achievement.
Giving treats for practicing probably isn't a good idea. The child's reward should be the satisfaction of mastering a new skill. An occasional spontaneous treat after practice is fine, as is rewarding children for reaching milestones in their endeavors.