All children need to practice to get on the cricket team, to finish that R. D. Sharma with a time limit, perform a piano concert, or for a great performance in the school play. Just about anything worth doing well takes practice.
With practice comes the ability to perform a task without even thinking about it. With the right amount and kind of practice, kids can solve complex mathematical problems, write essays and more, alsmost effortlessly. In fact, your child needs practice to develop skills for math, writing, reading, spelling, organizing, time management, and studying. The more your child develops their automatic skills, the less they will waste their time on wasting time and complaining.
Practice is “intentionally improving performance”. Call it what you want – drill, train, practice, rehearse, exercise, prepare, workout, run through – it doesn’t matter. Just make it a part of your child’s learning routine. Here’s how:
Empowering Parents gives tips on how to motivate your child better:
1. Don’t let your anxiety push them to get motivated.
You will only motivate them to resist you or comply to calm you down because they want you to leave them alone. This then becomes about managing parents rather than focusing on themselves and finding some internal motivation. Your anxiety and need for them to care will just create a power struggle between you and your child.
2. Be inspiring!
The only way to motivate is to stop trying to motivate. Instead, ask yourself if your behavior is inspiring, or controlling. Understand that your kids will want to run the other way if you’re too controlling. Think about someone in your own life who inspires you and and try and understand how they do that so you can do the same for your child.
3. Choose a subject or skill together.
Just as you decide on school goals together, decide which subject or skill you’ll concentrate on. Set a fixed time for the practice of different subjects or skills. 20 minutes for Math, 30 minutes for spelling, an hour on the piano etc.
4. Make it routine.
Routines provide structure, stability, and organization. They allow kids to know what is expected of them, and they let kids know what comes next. When you set routines, you show kids what you value. Practice builds mental muscle and puts the brain on auto-pilot for repeated activities. Math, playing a musical instrument, throwing a football, memorisation, and driving.
5. Have some fun.
Practice doesn’t have to be dull. Make a game of it, relax, sing. Encourage kids to practice together with study buddies in a relaxed atmosphere. Group study sessions may sometimes help your child practice, as they are having fun while studying. Don’t wave aside suggestions of group studies, encourage them, and always be around to supervise and help.
6. Highlight role models.
Point out others who are models of the skills you want to learn. Kids like to have “heroes” to emulate and learn from. If your child is lagging behind at science tell them about Dr. Abdul Kalam. If your child wants to become better at Writing, talk to them about Rabindranath Tagore. Help them become like the role models they choose.
7. Show how you practice.
Share stories of how you mastered a difficult skill by diligent practice and perseverance. Adults aren’t born with highly polished skills – they work at it. Sharing experiences that were not successful shows the power of persistence. Your child will learn to practice and have patience if you do too. A parent is always a child’s first teacher.
8. Let your child make his own choices—and face the consequences.
Let your child make his own choices. When it’s a poor choice, hold him accountable by letting him face the natural consequences that come with it. If the consequence of not doing his homework is that the computer is taken away, put the need to get that computer time back in his hands. If he finishes his work, he gets the time on the computer you’ve agreed upon. That will be a motivation for him in the right direction without you telling him what to do, how to do it, and lecturing him on why he should care.
9. Get help.
If you notice that your child is behind in a particular subject, get help early. Talk to your child’s teacher about their progress and look for tutoring options. If your child has to take tuitions, it doesn’t make him less than his classmates – in fact, he will be working on his weak point and turning it into his strength!
10. Focus on strengths.
Encouraging developing talents. Even if your child didn’t ace their math test, they may have written a good poem in English class. In addition to a workbook for math practice, give her a writing journal. Encourage the practice for both their weak and strong points.
11. Get feedback from others.
The best practice happens when there’s someone who can provide quick feedback. A coach, classmate, teammate, study buddy, older sibling, or tutor. A patient, inspiring and let your child listen to criticism. Don’t be too harsh, and help him take criticism in a positive manner, striving to fix the problems.
12. Award patience and persistence.
When kids show steadfastness and tenacity ─ when they stick in there ─ reward their diligence with your recognition. If it’s a particularly and personally important skill, a reasonable reward is always a good idea.
But above all,
13. Stay positive!
Practice doesn’t come easily to everyone. Be supportive, encouraging, and upbeat, especially when commitment falters, enthusiasm slips and progress seems to slow down. Kids need adults to be there for them at their weakest moments to give them a helping hand.