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Unlocking the Secrets of Establishing a Successful Practice Routine

School has started and new routines are in FULL SWING!

If you’re anything like me, you LOVE the idea of a routine. You get all of your schedule lined up perfectly. You work your plan the first day, second day…and then the wheels start to feel like they fall off the track?

Anyone else relate?

I am always frustrated, honestly even sometimes angry, when I tell my kids to go practice their piano, and I don’t hear what I want to hear.

Understand the routine time frame:

A quick search on Google shows you that it actually takes anywhere from 18-254 days to form a new habit.

Read that again, my friend!

254 days. 8 1/2 months.

So giving your kids (especially your little ones) instructions for a practice routine once or twice and expecting them to follow it consistently, seems overly optimistic. But if you commit to the investment, it will reap amazing rewards!

Understand the Parent's Role in the routine:

Establishing a practice routine isn't just about telling your children what to do and expecting them to comply. It's a collaborative effort that requires thoughtful planning and consistent support from parents.

Here are some strategies to make this process smoother for both you and your children.

  1. Select a Consistent Practice Time: Young children often struggle with understanding abstract concepts like time. To make it easier for them, choose a consistent time of day tied to a routine activity, such as a meal or snack time. For instance, practicing before school works well for early risers, allowing them to focus while you prepare breakfast.

  2. Consider Their Schedule and Attention Span: After a long day at school, children need some time to unwind before diving into their practice routine. Be mindful of their energy levels and give them space to relax mentally before starting practice.

  3. Use Visual Timers: Younger kids who can't read a clock benefit from visual timers. These timers provide a tangible representation of time passing, helping them stay on track. Keep practice sessions short and sweet, as consistency is more effective than sporadic, lengthy sessions.

  4. Ensure All Necessary Materials Are at Hand: Join your child in the music room and help them set up. Ensure they have the correct music sheets and discuss how many times they should play each piece. Keep essential items like pencils, notebooks, and metronomes within easy reach.

  5. Minimize Distractions: Create a conducive practice environment by removing distractions from the room. A focused space enhances concentration and productivity.

  6. Implement a Reward System: Explore different reward systems to motivate your child. Some children respond well to intrinsic rewards, while others may need external incentives. Discover what works best for your child's unique personality.

  7. Set Reminders: Children may struggle to remember their practice times initially. Set reminders on your phone to help both you and your child stay on track. Consistency is key.

  8. Be Consistent and Patient: Remember that forming a habit takes time, even for adults. On average, it takes 66 days to establish a habit. Be patient and committed to working on the practice routine daily with your child, especially in the initial stages.

Final thoughts:

Establishing a practice routine, whether it's for piano lessons or any other skill, is a journey that requires time, effort, and patience. By understanding the time frame involved and implementing the right strategies, parents can empower their children to develop the habit of discipline, which will serve them for their entire future.

Consistency, visual aids, and a supportive environment can all contribute to a smoother path toward success. So, as you embark on this journey with your child, remember that while it may take time, the rewards of a well-established practice routine are well worth the investment.

Happy Practicing!

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