Have you tried the 100 Days Challenge?

Did it work?

If so, you need read no further. If on the other hand the very idea of 100 days seems like a life sentence, read on.

What would you and your child like to get out of practicing every day for 100 days?

  • Would you like to create a habit – to make practice an automatic part to your daily life, like eating and sleeping and breathing?
  • Would you like to make practice sessions easier, with fewer stand offs and tantrums?
  • Would you like to make practice fun, focussed and less arduous?

How do we achieve this in the face of 3 greatest reasons why children don’t want to practice in the first place?

1  Criticism, Scolding and Empty Praise:

  • We are only trying to be helpful when we point out mistakes, but do you enjoy being on the receiving end?
  • Perhaps like many kids, your child thinks that practice is full of criticism, scolding and empty praise.
  • Maybe he or she thinks that It’s too hard to live up to praise for results, rather than for focus and hard work.  A scientific study has shown that kids praised for being clever, actually do worse in subsequent tests, than those praised for their hard work.
  • Empty praise, such a  “High five!”  “You’re so good!”  “Clever boy!”  just doesn’t register, and becomes a background noise.  What a waste of effort!
  • Undeserved praise is actually dishonest and does not motivate.  It always causes loss of respect for the praise giver.

2  Inconsistent Parenting Makes it Easier to Resist:

  • Our children will catch us out, if we are over concerned about upsetting them.
  • Our misconceptions about quality time will always backfire.  Quality time is not about giving way to a child’s demands and showering them with indulgence.  It is about firm gentle boundaries and guidance, while you spend time growing and learning together.
  • Fights over starting time can result from over programming, a fear of missing out on social life and too easily available TV and computer games.

 

3  It’s Too Difficult:

  • Sometimes, we just don’t understand what the teacher wants us to practice for the next lesson.  How can your child want to practice, when she doesn’t know what to do?
  • Doing something over and over, apparently without any reason is boring.  This was my perception of practice for most of my early life.  Even as a music student, daily practice felt like a life sentence.
  • Last, but not by no means least, quite often Practice Tasks are just too big.

How awful!  Who wants to do a 100 Days Challenge, when that’s what it’s like. However this is the way many of us approach practice every day.  No wonder it’s so difficult.  BUT with a little thought and preparation we can make it easier.

1  keep it short:

  • If you are having serious practice problems, start your 100 days with micro practices.  Just 5 minutes.  Don’t worry, they will eventually grow.  If they are enjoyable, you can fit in several in a day.
  • Better still, make each session task oriented.  Cut down on the number of practice tasks.  You can always build up when your child has become more cooperative.
  • Cut down on the number of correct repetitions of each Practice Task.  How would you react, if you made a mistake on your 99th repetition and had to go all the way back to the beginning?
  • When you do the 100 Days Challenge, cut it down into doable segments – 2 consecutive days, 5, a week, 10 and 20 days etc.  Always recognize and reward after each segment.  Your child will want to do it again.

 

2  Make it Easy:

  • Make sure that all tasks are specific and doable.
  • Pay attention in the lessons and take notes.  When you understand what to do, you and child can prepare for each task together, so both of you know what is expected.
  • Above all, always address one point at a time.  Nothing is more discouraging than,  “That was OK, BUT…..and….and….”

3  make it interesting:

  • Specific, honest praise always helps to catch someone’s interest.  Start a habit of mentioning everything that is going well and your child will know that you are focussing only on him.
  • Praise work and focus rather than cleverness.  The latter is impossibly hard to live up to, which leads to wobbly self confidence.
  • Make a game of it.  Learning is EASY when it’s FUN.  The 100 Days Challenge Kit now includes a great pack of Practice Games.

That’s it!  When taken in baby steps, it’s actually doable.  As you implement these 3 suggestions, you will find your 100 Days Challenge working really well.  Before you know it, you will be sailing towards your 200th day.

 

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