Whether your child begged to take piano lessons or whether it was your idea, you may eventually face a common problem experienced by parents of budding musicians: how to get your child to practice. Even if your child enjoys playing the piano and enjoys their lessons, it's very common for children to put off practicing, especially if piano practice interferes with things they'd rather be doing, like socializing with their friends or playing computer games. Take a look at some tips that can help you encourage your child to practice as often as they should.
Follow Your Child's Time Schedule
A good way to ensure regular practicing is to set times and days to practice and stick to them. Routine always helps. But whose routine are you using?
Like adults, children have their own internal clocks – some times of the day are better for them than others. Some kids are morning people and some are night owls. Some kids are energized and ready to go after school lets out, and some need to relax for awhile. Do your best to schedule piano practice at a time that's good for your child. A child who's alert and perky early in the morning might benefit from practicing in the morning before school. A child who's exhausted after school might need a snack and a break before starting piano practice, instead of being expected to do it first thing after returning home. A night owl might be more willing to practice after dinner.
Watch Your Words
It sounds deceptively simple, but the language you use can make a big difference. "It's time to play the piano!" sounds a lot more fun than "it's time to work on your piano lessons." Emphasize the word "play" and avoid words like "work", "lessons", "practice", and "homework". If it sounds fun to your child, it's more likely to end up actually being fun for your child.
Be An Appreciative Audience
If you're not your child's piano teacher, it's usually best to avoid being their critic, even if you recognize their mistakes. Your child has a teacher to point out their flaws and help them learn to avoid wrong notes. What your child needs from you is applause.
After all, part of the fun of learning to play an instrument is the applause from an audience when you perform. Your child may not be ready for an audience just yet, but they do have you. When they've made an obvious improvement, comment on it. When they hit the right notes without hesitation, applaud. When they practice for half an hour without stopping, praise them. This will make practice time a more pleasant time for your child, and they'll be more likely to keep practicing without argument.
Of course, choosing the right piano lessons can help as well. Your child will feel more motivated to work to impress a teacher that they like and connect with. Make sure that your child's piano teacher is a good fit for your child.