My son is 3 ½ years old, and we have been taking violin for the past few months. Yesterday he had a massive tantrum when we were practicing at home. Should we quit violin?
I would need quite a bit more information to fully understand your unique situation and set of circumstances. But, I will start by saying that tantrums and 3-year-olds do go together at times. Fear not! I would also say that by adults giving in to tantrums and the demands associated with individual tantrums (if I keep screaming and kicking, no more nap time for example, might be a child’s logic), it is our children who are effectively practicing behavior modification on adults (meaning it is the children who are doing the training/teaching), rather than the other way around.
Trying to find out why a child may be reacting in such a way (and feeling so frustrated) is a good beginning. Think in terms of the basics: Hungry? Tired? Overwhelmed? Over-Stimulated? Even something as seeming not connected as being overheated in a scratchy sweater, or the shoelaces too tight (yes, really!) while trying to concentrate on violin practice can bring about much frustration for a very young child who may not be able to tell you that she/he is uncomfortable. Once the reason or set of factors is located, you are well on your way toward finding a solution.
Another thing that we need to remember when working with young children (and older children for that matter!), is that routine is our best friend. When children know when an activity is happening, how long an activity is lasting, and have learned to associate positivity with said activity, things will generally go more smoothly.
Additionally, young children need more time than adults do mentally/emotionally in order to change direction and transition from one activity to the next—meaning that if a child had just been involved in one activity (however big or small), she/he may need additional time and preparation in order to transition to another activity (whereas an adult or older child may not). We as adults can make these transitions easier by telling a child in advance (preparing them) that a change in activity is coming, and by providing reassurance (we could even say campaigning) that this new activity will be a positive one. This, again, is where routines can really help!