How do I get my child to practice at home?

“How do I get my child to practice at home?” is a question I commonly hear, and not just from “new” parents or students. It’s a conundrum that plagues all parents and students. When asked, my response is mundane in its simplicity: make practice a priority. It needs to be important.


When was the last time you had to remind your child to watch the latest episode of their favorite television series, or to check out the latest music video or song from that artist that they enjoy? For many, that answer is never, because those activities they have deemed as priorities. When was the last time they had to be reminded to practice? In my experience, that answer is typically, “ALL the time,” because it has NOT been deemed a priority. But why should practice  be a priority? Wouldn’t it be better for them to stick to the things we are good at, rather than trying to practice things we aren’t good at?


Nearly every person who has been successful at anything is not a natural. More likely, they were the one who struggled the most, the one who had some limitation they overcame. So where are the “naturals”, the ones who were gifted, who got it right the first time, every time? Odds are, they quit. They quit because eventually, their “natural” talent runs out, and they lack the basic necessity it takes to succeed: the mindset of a champion. This mindset comes from failure, not success. It comes from getting knocked down, and getting back up. It is seen in those who had to work for all they have.


There is a quote that goes something like this: “The master has failed more than the beginner has ever tried.” While I do not believe anyone has ever truly “mastered” anything (this, to me, implies that they have nothing more to learn, which is never true), the quote nonetheless demonstrates that in order to be successful, one MUST fail, repeatedly. In order to fail, one must attempt. Those attempts are practice.


But knowing WHY we should practice is not always adequate to convince us to. Let us return to the initial question: “How do I get my child to practice?”.  It must be a priority. Set a time in your day to practice. Put it in your schedule! Make it a priority, make it part of their routine. They may not like it at the time, but I speak from personal experience when I say that they will appreciate it later.




Blog written by Team Chip San Angelo Martial Arts Centers Chief Instructor, Kyle Johnson.  He is a 4th Degree Black Belt.