Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What Do You Do If Your Child Wants To Quit The Piano?

It's been a musical week in our house. The rai...
It's been a musical week in our house. The rainy evenings are condusive to practice. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
2 years ago when I bought a piano, my daughter would throw her bags down when she got back from school and head over to the piano. I wondered if her enthusiasm would eventually wane. Glad to say that it hasn't. The piano is still the first place she goes to when she gets back from school.

Just this morning I came across some comments made by some children about how they hated the piano and wanted to quit. I wondered what could be the difference between my daughter and these kids? And this has led me to pen down a few suggestions on what parents can do when their child says "I want to quit the piano".
  • Ask yourself, "Am I nagging too much"?

    I know, most of the time we can't help ourselves but the constant reminder to practice, practice, practice may be the reason why they are starting to despise the piano. Kids will hate the piano when it becomes a chore. Tone down on the nagging and stop trying to push them too hard. I always ask myself, would I rather push a donkey from behind or dangle a carrot in front? Dangling the carrot is really the better way. Instead of nagging our children to practice, it would be more effective if we found a way to fuel their motivation to practice. Rewards and praises work better.
  • Find out the REAL reason why they want to quit.

    Are they burnt out from too many activities? Is it because they don't find it fun? Are they interested in something else? Or maybe, the piano lessons are boring and it is time to change to a better piano teacher. When it comes to kids, FUN is the key. No doubt learning the piano requires tons of repetition and that can really suck the fun out of learning. However, a good piano teacher will have ways to keep the fun alive. Not only that, a good teacher will never ever humiliate or put down a child.
  • Let them play music that they love.

    And this could mean opting to skip the piano exams. When I was learning the piano, I hated the exams. My grade 5 exam stressed me out so much that I decided I didn't want to go through that again. (BTW, I passed that exam). I didn't hate the piano though. I still love to play (although not so good). I wished I could just learn to play without having to go for exams. And this is what I've chosen for my daughter. I can see she loves to play. I don't have to nag her to practice as she is eager herself to get on the piano to play the songs she loves. I bet if she was nagged to practice her exam pieces over and over again whether she liked it or not, her enthusiasm for the instrument will slowly diminish.
  • Change your approach.

    Don't be too strict. Don't create rules that will cultivate hate instead of love for the piano. An example would be this: "You can't go out to play with your friends until you've practiced for 2 hours" or "If you are going to quit piano, then you must quit your basketball too". Playing dictator will not get you the results you want. If you want to get them to practice, you have to figure out a way to get them to do it willingly. It is the same with school homework. Maybe just sitting next to your child while he practices will do the trick. My son enjoys the piano more when I play simple duets with him. You might even want to consider where you put the piano in your home. Is it somewhere isolated? It might help to put the piano in an area where mom usually hangs out like near the kitchen. Sometimes they do better just being near mom. Be encouraging, not pushy.
  • Understand their frustration.

    Many times our children just want us to empathize with them. Do that and then explain that you understand that learning the piano is difficult. Nobody becomes an expert overnight. If they quit half way, they will forfeit the rewards later. Tell them a story of how you struggled to learn something (like riding a bicycle) but when you finally got it, how it felt to succeed.  Maybe make a deal with them. Ask them to complete the course or a set of lessons first and consider that a learning experience. If they still want to quit after that, they can. Or rather than quit, just give them a breather for a few weeks or months. See if they can come back with renewed enthusiasm.
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Friday, June 07, 2013

Badminton Training for Little Kids

I got this idea from another mother. Just tie the shuttlecock so it hangs. This way, I don't have to keep throwing the shuttle to my daughter. She can practice on her own.

It is a perfect way for little kids to improve their hand and eye coordination. It will improve their 'ball sense'. No point paying a coach RM60 an hour just so your kid can learn how to connect the racket and the shuttlecock.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Family Outing: Fishing

It's the school holidays and we don't have the money for lavish trips overseas. But that doesn't mean we can't have fun family activities.

My brother is an avid fisher and he invited us to one of his fishing trips. I asked the kids if they were game and they said yes. So, off we went to spend a day with my brother. We stayed overnight at his place. There was a pool so they had a blast splashing around. We left for the fishing lake the next morning after breakfast.

First thing was learning to put on the bait. Got to be careful with those hooks, they're really sharp. It involved getting the hands dirty and so the kids chose to leave this job to their mom... ME. They were more interested in casting the line and reeling in the fish.

It wasn't long before D1 saw his rod jiggling around. Excitedly he reeled in the first catch of the day. It was a small fish.

It is a catch-n-release pond, so we unhooked the fish and let it back into the pond again. A few minutes after, another fish took the bait. This time a bigger one.

Since we didn't have to wait long to catch the first 2 fishes, the kids were under the impression that catching fish was relatively quick. Of course that is not the case. There was a lull time where we didn't catch a fish for about an hour or more. The kids became antsy and kept wanting to reel in the line to see if the bait was still there. My brother explained that if they fiddled with the line, the bait will drop. Unfortunately waiting is difficult for kids. So they didn't listen and kept pulling up the line and we had to put on the bait again.

All in all, it was quite an interesting experience for the kids. My daughter K1 had fun reeling in the fish. My son D1 had too many encounters with the bamboo plant. 3 times he casted his line into the bamboo. That was stressful for me, trying to untangle the line. Kudos to my brother for being so patient with us amateurs. Hahaha.

It was good that my brother already had all the equipment ready and knew what to do. We would have been lost without him.

 This was the last big fish we caught. 

 Patiently waiting for the bell on the rod to ring. Ringing bell means there's a fish on the other end.

 K1 happily reeled this one in. 


  • Fishing is a good way to teach your children patience. If they have no patience, an iPad is quite helpful in passing the time while waiting for the fish to bite. A book is even better.
  • If you want to take your children fishing, make sure you go with someone who knows what to do and have spare fishing rods for you to use.
  • This fishing pond is in Semenyih. It's a catch and release pond, so there are plenty of fish. However, I think there are certain times that the fish don't bite, like in the afternoon. We had better luck in the morning and towards the evening. 
  • After this activity, you can teach your children about the different kinds of fish that we eat. Expand their knowledge about how different baits and hooks are used to catch different kinds of fish.
  • Bring a bandaid.