Holidays can be rough on our goals to practice consistently with our kids. All the regular routines have gone out the window. Sometimes we’re traveling, or hosting relatives.
And, for me where I live, it is winter. And that’s the worst. The dark days and gloomy weather just makes me want to hide in bed for a few months, and come back out when the sunshine does.
All of these factors, and more, may lead to taking a longer break from practicing than we intended. Or maybe you’re reading this in the summer, or after an illness, or any other particularly busy time…
There are lots of reasons why your child’s practice routine may have been disrupted, and I’m here to tell you, it’s ok.
Skipping practice with your child for a period doesn’t make you a bad Suzuki parent.
And it doesn’t mean you should quit either.
It’s just one of those things. It’s part of the life cycle of a Suzuki family.
So no guilt trips for anyone. Ok? Ok.
Since that’s out of the way, let’s talk about how to get BACK to practicing regularly. My family has spent most of November and December battling all sorts of nasty kid-spreading germs, so I am right in the middle of re-building our practice routine.
I think my four-year-old doesn’t even remember that we practice.
As I work practicing back into our daily rhythm, here are the ideas I’m keeping close:
This is especially important with the younger crowd. It can be jarring to jump straight into heavy-duty, 30 minute practice sessions if you’ve had a couple weeks off. Give young brains some time to rebuild their attention spans and strengthen their muscles. Start with some shorter practice sessions and work your way back up to where you were before.
Keep It Light and Fun
Practicing is hard work. If your practice sessions have been rough on you and your child, consider this an opportunity to start fresh. Plan a practice game, start with a hug, read a book between practice activities. Be creative about finding ways to make practice time a point of connection with your child.
Get Their Input
Since we’re starting anew, involve your child in some of the practice routine decisions. When do they prefer to practice? Where would they like to practice? What practice games do they enjoy? Even if they can’t have full power over every decision, they’ll take more ownership in the process if they feel they have some say.
As I come back from an unplanned practice break, I sometimes feel guilty that I failed in my goal to practice with my children daily. This is the perfect time for me to show my kids that when I fail to meet a goal, I don’t need to quit, or beat myself up, or get discouraged. I can model self-compassion by speaking kindly to them and myself about our practice break, and then keep going. There will come many times in their lives where they don’t meet their own expectations, and how they respond to those times will determine what they accomplish.
Are you coming back from a practice break? How will you work practicing back into your daily routines and rhythms? Please share in the comments! We all need all the help we can get.