Written by, Laura Ramsey
read time 4 min
1. Don't try to when they are throwing a fit not to.
Try this: When they see their favorite musician on TV or on Spotify at home and say, "I want to be like (inserts pop star name here)". Respond with "Go play the (insert pop star here) version of Fur Elise, or whatever it is they may be working on. If your budding musician says they want to do something musical like someone they admire, that means they are inspired! Inspired moments spark the flames to keep going, fan them!
A kid pushed to anger will lash out worse.
2. It really must be part of their daily routine.
Make the way you schedule their day allow for regular practice. For a set amount of time. At the same time of day.
Practicing is a habit, just like brushing your teeth and eating dinner. Don't schedule a play date over that set practice time; you don't schedule play dates over bed time or homework. Even if it's challenging at first, establishing a habit of practice sets up a kid for success at their instrument and in life.
3. Take them to an age appropriate concert.
Your local library very likely has performances scheduled almost every month. I highly recommend the Boston Pops who play popular music in an orchestral setting. The Boston Symphony Orchestra Education and Community Engagement programs offer a lot of family oriented performances and events as well. In some instances, they will really only respond to their favorite artist they hear on Spotify or iTunes. You will be guaranteed The Parent of the Year Award if you go to a cool concert that you will both enjoy together. Be Careful! If you don't like the artist and won't enjoy yourself its the wrong concert. If they don't like the artist- same situation. Find common ground in music.
4. Sit in on a month of their private lessons.
Your child's teacher is a seasoned professional; that's why you pay them. Use your in lesson time to observe and listen to how the teacher motivates your little rock star or diva. Wording is extremely important. Take notes on the exact phrasing of what keeps them motivated. Typically, they key to getting a child who is establishing themselves as a unique individual to listen, will actually be more like redirection. NO and YOU MUST are ultimatums. I don't know anyone who enjoys an ultimatum. I don't have kids of my own, my students are my kids, but I read this book How To Talk So Kids Will Listen. It's really helpful in understanding how phrasing and reinforcement work in verbal communication.
Hopefully these 4 ideas will spark your parental genius. You've got this! Rock on Mom + Dad!!