A challenge of ongoing practice is keeping everyone focused and motivated. Kids and circumstances change. With so much happening, it can be hard to keep your practice focused and relevant to your child’s skills and development, while also setting up your child for further learning, growth, and success.
A word of the year
For one of our ESMA families, Amber Riggs picks a “word of the year.” Amber uses this word to guide her 4 children in practice, education, and other parts of their lives. Here’s what Amber has to say about how having a word of the year has helped her family:
“As a homeschool mom, I’m always looking for ways to keep my kids (ages 8, 6, 4, and 1) motivated. Last year they said that they really wanted a trophy. I liked the idea of being able to earn a trophy for something other than athletic accomplishments, but I really liked the idea of making it something meaningful that they had to work hard for. Therefore, a Diligence Trophy was promised to kids who demonstrated that they could “start fast, work hard, and finish strong,” and “Diligence” became our word of the year. That word helped us all through a lot of frustrating situations.
“This year’s word is “Perseverance”, and it is music to my ears to hear the chanting of ‘I am perseverant! I can do it—even when it’s tough!” Small rewards keep them saying it, but they know that if they can live it out this year then another trophy is coming. We sometimes reach points where we just don’t feel like pushing ourselves. It can be tough to finish that page of math! It can be hard work to get your fingers to go where they need to go on the violin! Not to mention being the parent trying to facilitate these activities! But that’s where all of that chanting pays off: “You are perseverant!” I tell them. “Yes”, they reply, “I can do it—even when it’s tough!”
How to pick a practice word
You can put this to work in your family too:
- Either you can pick a word, or you can make it something you choose together as a family.
- What is a challenge, skill, or value that you are working on with your kids?
- How does the word relate to you practice?
Your word doesn’t have to be for a whole year, either. Maybe it’s something you do for a month or a few months, depending on its effectiveness.
Ideas for potential practice words
Trying to think of what your practice word might be? Talk it over with your kids, and here are a few ideas to get you going:
What will be your family’s word?