When I talk to a parent who’s about to sign up her daughter for class, I ask how old her child is. If she’s less than 10 years old, I explain that I will require a few things from the parent in order to accept the student. Don’t worry, I don’t ask a lot. They are two things, really.
First, the parent or the guardian has to be there for every lesson. In general, I prefer to have someone else in the studio with the student. I prefer that until the student reaches 18 years of age. Why? Because the parents are almost always the ones paying for the lessons and I want them to see what they are getting for their money.
Second, I ask the parents to make their child practice during the week. Oh, it doesn’t mean that they need to be at it 5 hours a day every day. No. Just spend a reasonable amount of time to make sure that the child progresses a bit. That’s ll do. This guideline stays with students under 10 years old. Past that age, I do not ask a parents to help her practice. So, why do I ask that? Very simply, because I had 2 children who, until they reach the ripe old age of 10 years old or so, were completely tuned to their parents. They defined their whole relationship to the world through the looking glass of the relationship with us. They couldn’t help it, it’s developmental. And the large majority of children are like that.
So, these are my two conditions. One: parents or guardians have to be present every lesson. Two: parents have to make their child practice and participate in that adventure.
Now, when I ask parents to participate, I make sure that I explain the exercises and concepts to them as clearly as possible. That’s number one. For that I show them the exercise slowly, I refer to it on the page, I also ask them to video me while I demonstrate what I’m talking about. I check and double check that we understand each other, that there is no doubt in their mind of what the task should be. Then, and that’s where my job gets tougher for me but really great for my clients: I make all the exercises fun. Of course, it has to be fun for the child, yes, first and foremost, but also for the parent/guardian. That’s the best way I got to make sure they will do the exercises during the week.