Help for Parents and Guardians
HELLO AND WELCOME TO YOUR VILLAGE,
We're so honored to be on your team! You've been through a lot these past few years and now you have a budding artist on your hands! We created this page to help you navigate some of the possible stresses that arise. Remember-we're here to help! Below we've listed some common struggles and things we've found helpful after working with 100's of students in all age groups over the years.
If you would like to talk through more specifics to your child's situation please schedule a call. One of our knowledgeable teachers will be happy to help!
Children are in constant brain development. Meeting them in those places is crucial to setting expectations as they begin a new skill (or try to continue one). Here are some of the most common things we run into. Remember-you're not alone!
My child was so interested in this but they won't practice!
This can seem like an indication that they don't like the skill they're learning. This is usually far from the case. We aren't born wanting to work for things, this is a new concept to a developing mind. Therefore the adults in our lives need to help us develop these habits.
TRY THESE IDEAS:
Find out what motivates your child in any area of life. Is it checking things off? Earning prizes? Earning a skittle for each 5mins of practice? As their mind associates practice with reward and also starts to see the reward of learning how to do more of their skill they will want to do it more!
But remember parents-do we even love to practice? Not often. Keep up the positive reinforcement and as much as you can focus on consistency.
Children's minds think in black and white. We must be careful of the pressure we place on them. If your inclination is to grade their work or criticize while practicing please remember that this is likely the worst thing to do. It will immediately lower the reward and enjoyment they feel and their creative mind will learn that it is not ok to make mistakes. Being that mistakes are how we learn this is the quickest way to discourage a child from continuing or to push them into high-stress and anxiety.
TRY THIS INSTEAD:
Make sure you're getting the notes from their teacher on assignments and what the practice goal is. Practice goals are just that-GOALS. We often give them a range so that there is flexibility if things come up throughout the week. Ex: practice 25-30mins 4-5days/week.
We as teachers are not angry if a student doesn't complete an assignment. Please do not say that we will be. This creates fear in the child and hurts the learning process. Instead focus on excitement to show their teacher how much they remembered from their lesson!
Focus on progress instead of perfection! Again, PROGRESS over PERFECTION! If your child is constantly pointing out what they ddid wrong ask them what they did right! Ask them-can you do one more thing right this time? And help them keep going!
I don't have time to sit with my child and make sure they practice!
This is ok! This is why we're here! We will always give your student ways to do things on their own. If they're fairly young of course you will need to set them up. You do not need to know their skill or sit with them the whole time they practice (although it can be GREAT quality time to do it together!)
Set your child up for whatever they need to work on
Set a timer for around 3-5 mins depending on age and ask them to do ONE of their assignments.
Follow-up with that and check that they completed that practice
Set a timer for a slightly longer time and ask them to do a second part of their assignment and so on.
The timer gives 1) expectation and urgency and 2) and ending point to what they're doing.
Am I forcing my child? Will they hate me?
Congratulations! You're showing how much you care about your child's boundaries and showing that you don't want to ruin something as wonderful as art and music for them! this question alone tells us that a parent is likely not in danger of this. However, it is a tough thing to discern.
HERE ARE A FEW TIPS:
There is a large and important difference between forcing and consistency encouraging. Consistent encouragement works with the child to help them grow into working on things-even if they don't love it as much as a video game at first (fyi they won't- few things can compete with that level of dopamine!) Forcing is bullying; mandating things based on adult expectations, setting rules based on perfection and results rather than experiencing the art form. Compromise is OK. The most important thing in learning is momentum. This is where the child begins to be encouraged and want to do more!
My kid is SO distracted!
Distraction can come from many sources but one we see quite often is that they're thinking about something more "fun". Coaching expectations is key here.
For instance, they've been told they can go to the park if they practice piano. While this is a great reward they don't often have a good idea of how long things take. Try setting an egg timer that visually counts down. Remind them that they are not missing out on the park because they're doing this but they will get to go when they're done.
In the same way, if they were playing and are now hurried to practice or off to their lesson they will have a very hard time transitioning their minds. Try giving a 5min warning (even adding a 2min if needed) so the child can transition their mind to the next activity.