Help Your Child Find Time & Motivation to Learn a New Skill

black boy demonstrating strength near wall

Learning a new skill, such as playing a musical instrument, can be incredibly rewarding for your child. Not only will it help them develop coordination, confidence, and creativity – but giving your child the opportunity to learn and grow in this way could also open up a world of opportunities in the future. However, finding the time and motivation to learn such a skill can be a struggle for kids. Here are some tips on how you can make learning part of your daily routine, helping your child find the time and motivation to learn a new skill.

happy ethnic boy playing ukulele near crop unrecognizable person

Pick a New Skill They’ll Enjoy

The best thing you can do is help your child find something they enjoy doing. Allowing your child to have a say in what type(s) of instrument(s) interests them will ensure that they have a chance to grow passionate about what they are learning. A great way to do this is by taking them to see musicians in action, so they can get excited about the possibilities of what they could create! Bonus points if they can TOUCH the instruments.

children with her students holding different color bells

Make Fun the Top Priority

It’s also important that learning new skills remains fun and engaging for them throughout the process—otherwise, it may be difficult for them to stay motivated over time. Make sure they’re working with a teacher that incorporates FUN through humor, games, or activities whenever possible; By making things interesting and exciting for your child, they’ll be much more likely to stick with learning the skill long-term.

“Play is important because it provides a primary foundation for learning, exploring, problem-solving, and building an understanding of the world and your role within it.”

Mayra Mendez, PhD, LMFT, a licensed psychotherapist and program coordinator at Providence Saint John’s Child and Family Development Center in Santa Monica, California

“Play is how children learn… On the whole, play is associated with responses that facilitate learning… [and] work off stress.”

Dr. Tiff Jumaily, a pediatrician at Integrative Pediatrics and Medicine Studio City in Los Angeles
Help Your Child Find Time & Motivation to Learn a New Skill

Lend Out Your Executive Function

Understanding the developmental capabilities and limitations of children helps us realize the importance of parental involvement for their continued success. Being able to focus, hold, and work with information in mind, filter distractions, and switch gears is like having an air traffic control system at a busy airport to manage the arrivals and departures of dozens of planes on multiple runways. In the brain, this air traffic control mechanism is called Executive Function and in most children, the part of the brain that controls these skills is still developing.

Children’s executive function skills include their ability to focus and pay attention, remember instructions and demonstrate self-control. These skills are important aspects of early learning and development that help children regulate their behavior and they are correlated with social and academic success. These are the skills needed in order to accomplish a successful practice session.

Because our children’s brains are still developing, they need to borrow our Executive Function! This means that if we want our children to experience success, we must accept responsibility for the schedule keeping. Over time, they will develop better time management skills, self-control, and attention span. For now, parents should accept their abilities and adjust their expectations.

writings in a planner

Schedule Regular (But Short!) Practice Sessions

The best way to ensure that your child learns their new skill is by helping them establish regular practice sessions. Decide on an amount of time each week that will be devoted to practicing, and make sure that you stick to it. This will help your child form habits around practicing their new skill and make progress more quickly.

Careful, though! When learning anything new—especially something as involved as playing an instrument—it’s important not to overwhelm your child with too much at once. Spaced Practice is a great way for students to take the information they’ve learned and retain it in their memories. Spaced Practice helps young ones to warm in to learning a new skill, while avoiding the Forgetting Curve.

The Forgetting Curve is how much knowledge is lost over time when our brains don’t put in effort to remember it. Practicing something once or twice in a week isn’t enough. Your child needs to revisit that material and review it over time in order for it to really stick. Unless your child reviews the material often, most of that learned material (and the skills that go with it) will be forgotten in a matter of days.

This is why we use Spaced Practice! Spaced practice works by giving your child a chance to (almost) forget before he or she revisits the material, and then having him or her revisit the material at regular intervals. Even though it may seem counter-intuitive to forget in order to remember – that’s exactly what makes this technique so powerful; revisiting old topics increase cognitive effort and helps carve neural pathways more deeply into our memory banks.

Spaced learning goes beyond a one-time cram session, ensuring your child will be able to store the information in their long-term memory, allowing for new ideas and concepts to become an ongoing part of your child’s knowledge-base. Short practice sessions work beautifully as students integrate new material into short term memory. With time comes mastery – allowing them to quickly recall this knowledge over and over again!

photo of woman sitting on couch while hugging her child

Reward Their Efforts to Learn a New Skill

It is important for kids to feel like they are making progress when learning a new skill. To ensure that your child is motivated to continue learning their new skill, try rewarding their efforts rather than results. This helps them focus on the process of learning rather than worrying about the outcome of achieving their goals. For example, if your child is learning how to play violin, reward them for practicing regularly even if they aren’t mastering certain techniques right away—this will encourage them to keep up with practicing the instrument and keep going! Progress is sure to come soon.


Learning a new skill can be challenging, but also incredibly rewarding at the same time! Helping your children find something they enjoy doing and celebrating their efforts along the way are all great ways to motivate them as they embark on this journey! By accepting responsibility for finding time, and creating regular and short practice sessions with patience and guidance from you as a parent, you can help your child find both the time and motivation necessary to learn a new skill like playing an instrument! With these tips in mind, you should have no problem finding ways to help your children stay motivated as they learn instruments or any other activity!

Read the previous blog

Growing Your LOVE of Music | Cultivating Interests | Expanding Understanding | Honing Skills

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Copyright Music Junkie Studios January 2023 – Kristi Judd

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