When learning any new skill or endeavor, creating a rhythm of daily practice is the most important. Why? By having the same pattern everyday, you create a habit and that's hard to break - even when you don't feel like it. Think about brushing your teeth. Because you started this routine every morning since you were little, you now have this habit - a good one - that you don't even have to think about it. It's the same with learning piano.
If you just find a time of day when you can practice even just 5 to 10 minutes, then this routine becomes a habit. My son, who is now 10, started this routine with me when he was 5. He's always been an early riser and so mornings are the best for him to practice. We did make one request, which was more for our neighbors - to please only begin at 8am on weekdays and 9am on weekends. So now, we hardly ever have to remind him to practice on a daily basis. It just happens.
Think about the best time for your child. Is it right before dinner? Or after? Or right after school? Or perhaps it's first thing in the morning with headphones?
By keeping your practice routines at the same time of day, you are making it so much easier to create a daily rhythm, a routine. And 5 minutes per day is far better than one day at 3 hours! Why? Because it's the building up of finger patterns, muscle memory and conceptual understanding. Plus, if you make practice time fun, then it's also great bonding time for you and your child. More on this in a future post.
Another little tip to get kids to practice: sticker charts. Kids love stickers and if you give them a chart to fill up with beautiful stickers - one per session - they'll always want to practice. Here's a practice chart you can download and print at home.
And here's a video of my son Alejandro practicing Octopuses Garden at 7.