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How Does Your Child Perceive Work?

Updated: Dec 28, 2021

By Christy | The Practicing Pro

You know the drill. You get all packed and ready for your trip in the car to Grammas. It's a 2-hour drive but after only ten minutes you hear “How much further?” and then “How much longer?”



I am such a GPS fan. I love to put it on even when traveling around my city in well-known areas and routes. I love to see exactly how much further I am away from my next stop and I LOVE to see the arrival time especially when it says I am going to be early!

I am a GPS girl for certain!

Understanding how your child perceives work is important to know, to help them not only in practice time but in other areas of their life as well.

I have a simple spiral notebook that I have a constant “to-do list” in. For my school I use a program for organizing tasks with a team called “Monday”- but for everything else I love a good old spiral notebook that I can make a daily list and then take a pencil and CROSS it off. It gives me great satisfaction to manually cross something off as I go throughout my day.

(I just don't get from a computer program list)

When I make my “to-do list” this is one of my core philosophies so well said by Steve Maraboli:

“Rename your “To-Do” list to your “Opportunities” list. Each day is a treasure chest filled with limitless opportunities; take joy in checking many off your list.”

When I look at my “to do'' list as a big list of adventures and opportunities to learn, to build things, or to help others all of a sudden my list gets me excited and full of energy. The more detailed my list the better.

I am a bit complicated though with how I perceive time. It's no secret. I want in my mind to do the work of two people in my day and then I like to stop and do absolutely nothing and read or listen to a book, go for a walk, hang out and talk to my husband Mark about random things or snuggle with my grand puppies. I am a super hard worker and then like to do absolutely nothing at all if I feel like it, kind of a gal.

But maybe that's nothing like you. Everyone perceives time and work differently depending on their goals, work style, speed of work, and how they envision things short-term or long-term.

My husband is very different in the way he approaches work. He is also hard-working and accomplishes a lot. He starts each day knowing he has one or two jobs to do so he really doesn't need a list. He sets out to do them and when one is done starts the other one. Not too structured. He loves a general list but not a detailed one.

How do you perceive work? Are you like me? More like my husband? Or another style altogether?

How does your child perceive work? Do you know?

Most young children can't perceive time well yet. That's why when they know Grandma's house is “far” from a previous trip, they feel sad and frustrated with the length after only 10 minutes. They don't have a developed time concept yet BUT their ability to remember feelings is extra developed! Hence the “Are we almost there yet?” complaints that start even at the beginning of the trip!

This is important to remember in music practices. Always SHOW young children their work. Tell them before the task how many times they will play something and if it feels long to them then break it into smaller pieces.

Funny concert story

A young boy who finds things to seem longer than they are, just doing his Book 2 concert. He said to me multiple times that he didn't want to do the concert because it was just too LONG!

I knew this and when we chatted I made sure he knew all of his songs inside and out and already performed them as solos so that literally NOTHING was new for this book concert BUT the length of the concert.

That was all he could handle.

Now after each song, of course, he bows while the audience claps. So he decides before the concert starts that he WON'T bow to save that time and get to the end of the concert faster. When people clapped he smiled but no bow and as quickly as he could he went into the next song. Well as you can imagine the poor thing got so very tired about halfway through the concert! Luckily at about halfway, we recite a poem at our school in Book concerts... so he got to take his violin down from his shoulder and stretch and rest his arm a bit there.

You see he didn't know his clever idea would make him so tired by keeping his violin UP on his shoulder for the whole concert!!! BY the last few songs he was wiggling and moving his shoulder around and really struggling BUT he plowed on to the very end and DID IT!!!

Oh, how clever to think of this for a solution to his “too long problem”. Though it backfired a bit by making it much harder to hold his violin up for the entire 25 minutes, he was smart to think of this as a solution!

See how he perceived his work? The bows made the concert longer. He didn't think about how holding his violin up for so long would take more energy. So THAT'S how he perceived the work in this situation!

Now an observing parent will not say a word. He wasn't being rude, unthankful or disrespectful by not bowing! OH NO!!! He was being efficient trying to make an issue he had better with an issue he came up with himself!

A conversation afterward could be something like this:

The night of the concert - wow amazing concert you have the biggest smile on your face I can tell you are very happy with it. My face hurts a bit from all the smiling I did too!”

The next day:

Parent: “I noticed last night, you made the choice to not bow after each song until your poem, tell me about that.”

PARENT LISTENS HERE - no judgment or comments

Child: “The concert was too long so not bowing made it shorter so that was way better!”

PARENT LISTENS HERE - again no judgment

Parent: “How did that work for you?”

Child: GREAT! It was shorter! My arm was a bit tired holding my violin up for so long but it was definitely shorter”

Parent: nods and smiles

See how the problem was solved in the child's mind because he perceived the LENGTH as the problem, not his arm being tired.

Children all perceive work differently.

An observant parent or teacher will learn what it is exactly a specific child will find long or hard and as a team work together to help them figure out how to be successful for them.

I have a simple experiment that you can do using ten blocks to understand a great deal about your child. This information will help you not only in your practices but in everything you do with them that involves work and time. Things like keeping your room clean, doing homework, washing dishes, a long day of shopping errands, yard work, etc…

You can join me for a FREE masterclass coming up in a few weeks where we will learn the basics of this block experiment. I welcome you to attend and want to see you there.! Watch your next email for the link to sign up.

Until then, I challenge you to carefully watch your child this week in preparation and start noticing what they find easy and what they feel is hard and why. Think about the boy's concert and how it was the sheer length NOT the effort made for his 25-minute concert he found hard!


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