Friday, December 30, 2011

Making Practicing Easier

   Many parents feel frustrated with practice sessions at home. They often feel the conflict that arises about practice indicates they are bad parents. Children can behave in strange and bizarre ways when it is time to practice. It is not unusual for children to resist being told what to do. As a teacher, parents often appeal to me to tell their children to practice because they feel their child will not listen to them. So, what is going on if this is a universal problem?

Edmund Sprunger has some important ideas on this subject in a book called, "Helping Parents Practice". There are three ideas in the beginning of the book that make sense to me.
1) Children are vulnerable and want to look good in the eyes of their parents. They crave attention as a sign that they are loved. If their actions get attention, good or bad, they feel safer. Keep in mind that your child feels insecure when she is not able play perfectly. When practicing gets hard, behavior can become trying for the parent.
2) When dealing with your child's vulnerability, notice if what you are doing is improving the situation or making it worse. Pay attention to outcome of your suggestions to your child.
3) Prepare yourself to try new ways to infuse your practice time with your child with more calm and help them enter the "Land of Easier". Wouldn't it be great if you, as a parent, had a magic wand to make hard things easy? It is time you told you child that you really don't have a magic wand. But, you can make things easier.

"This book contains specific strategies for working in ways that are easier- and more effective in the long run- than fixing and correcting bad things."
I will be revisiting this topic and ideas to make practice easier in subsequent posts.

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