Uh oh, the moment has come. Practice time, and your child is refusing. They want to play, they want to watch tv, they just got a new bike, or a friend is due to come over for a playdate.
Sometimes you can chalk up a child's refusal to practice to something as simple as a momentary distraction. When this happens, go ahead and let your child do their desired activity first. After the activity, and before the day is over, just make sure you bring your child back to the piano to continue their routine. They usually won't protest and be happy they were able to have their cake, and eat it too.
However, when these momentary distractions keep piling up for DAYS and you can't seem to bring your child back to the piano, you may need to try some other techniques.
Often when this aversion to practice happens, it's because your child has been given a new song to learn. It's a song that hasn't completely gotten into their brain yet, it's harder, and it seems like this daunting, overwhelming task to learn. How do you figure out if this is the issue? When your child brings up those dreaded words "I just don't like piano anymore", don't call your teacher and discontinue their lessons, ask your child "Why?"
Usually your child will tell you, "the new song is too hard and I don't like it." Sometimes it will take a lot of questions (and patience) to get them to the point where they can finally respond with the answer. Either way, this frustration is normal and it's always good to take this time to tell them "I am sorry you are frustrated with the new piece, it's ok to feel that way when you are learning something new!" Then follow with "But your teacher and I know you can learn it, so don't give up!" Validating your child's emotions is child psychology 101, and then taking the moment to give them some encouragement will help them feel better about getting back to the piano.
There are some other ways you can help encourage your child to get back into their practice routine. Take a look at how much practice you are having them do every day. Are they practicing for an hour a day? For 30 minutes? Sometimes, (and especially for younger children) they may feel like it's just too long. So the solution to that one is simple- shorten the practice routine! Still have them practice once a day, but go ahead and experiment with different amounts of time. For example, if your child was supposed to practice for an hour, shorten it to 45 minutes. If they still don't like the 45 minute time, try 30, and then 15, and then 10, etc. As a teacher I'm a firm supporter that 5 minutes a day is enough practice time. It seems like nothing to us, but it's amazing what a child can learn in that tiny window!
Remember, learning an instrument like piano is a skill, but it also has its perks. It will boost your child's confidence and enhance their social and motor skill development, but most importantly, music is the language of healing, togetherness, and life. To quote Plato: “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”
*Want to know some other benefits of playing piano?? Check out this link: 10 Benefits of Playing the Piano