~Schedule regular practice time. It is teaching them discipline. Keep sessions age appropriate in length. A young child learns a lot in 15 minutes several days a week, if they apply themselves. The quality of time is more important than the quantity. I would rather see 20 minutes of concentrated, focused work than 45 minutes of mindlessly running through things again and again to put in the required time.
~Set daily goals as well as weekly ones. Occasional loftier goals are helpful too - a recital, performance at church, school talent show, etc.
- Play as fast as you can
- Play really, really sslllloooooowwwwwllllyyy.
- Make up words for the music.
- Sing the notes.
- Whistle the tune or hum or sing la, la la.
- Record or video them playing.
- Make up their own song.
- Wiggle your head and play at the same time.
- Play with your eyes closed (only memorized songs, of course!)
- Let your child teach you - notes, song, technique, musical symbols, timing.
- Select a song they know and like, and try to pick out the tune.
- Give a concert for grandparents, friends or stuffed animals! Phone or Facetime concerts work too. That can be their session for the day.
- Have a review day where they play songs they already have mastered. It will show them how much they have progressed.
- And a happy surprise - no practice that day!
~Last, but definitely not least, let's talk about incentive. This is a positive reward for something your child has done - and a wonderful way to encourage your child to want to behave. A reward can be given for a good attitude while playing that day or practicing without being asked, etc. Colored beads, coupons, or tokens can be saved up and turned in later for a reward. Let your imagination be your guide. This is opposed to a bribe, which pays them to do something you want.
~All children will balk at times. No one knows your child better than you what will motivate them. Use your creativity. The sky is the limit.