With summer quickly upon us, we often need to remind ourselves why we, as parents, enrolled our children, or are considering enrolling them, in a martial arts school. Beyond the time, money and other valued assets we expend to give them the opportunity, the most valuable is the tools it will give them. Summer is when we most often see a huge decrease in the enrollment of children in martial arts. Parents often feel the need to have their children "take a break" which generally leads to them eventually dropping out. They often feel that the children need to take the summer off and have time to play. While this is important, children need and thrive on structure. They need to balance unstructured play with an activity that provides consistency, structure and keeps them learning. Below are just five reasons why it is so vital to keep training during the summer!
There are so many different extracurricular activities available for children to enroll in, it can be quite overwhelming. Which one will help them be better in school, at home or on the playground? Which one will important skills for life? Which one would they enjoy? A martial arts school would address all of these and more. Apart from a fun form of physical exercise, there are many other benefits that parents will see in their child once they start training.
1) Better Coordination
Very people are born with coordination skills. These are learned over time, usually through physical activities like gym class and sports. Children are sponges when it comes to learning, and this is the best time to develop traits like coordination. Martial arts is incomparable to other sport in developing coordination.
Coordination is developed through physical movement that accesses both hemispheres of the brain. We often subconsciously do things on our favorite side. However, in martial arts, techniques and drills are practiced on both sides. With practice, coordination skills will be built through martial arts.
2) Better Confidence
Children are born into the world with all the confidence they need. It is the world that slowly takes it away, most often. It is not something that really can be taught, we have to actually experience it, and the small successes in class does just that!
Children will build their confidence every time they show up. Bowing and stepping onto the mats takes courage as it is often stepping into the unknown. Every time, they get stronger.
Each time we progress through belt rankings, it builds an additional self-confidence. Children learn that work, determination, and confidence is the recipe for success.
3) Better listening and following instructions
A recent study, called the Goldfish study published demonstrated that a goldfish has a 6 second attention span. It went on to further study and reveal that the average adult only has a 6 to 9 second attention span! Children have even less, depending on age.
Focus plays a key role in children, who have limited attention spans. A martial arts school is the best place to increase attention spans, decrease distractions, and build positive peer relationships.
Instructors have clear rules, constantly reinforce them. Classes are structured, making it easy for children to grasp. They emphasize good behavior both in and out of the dojo by teaching children to listen and follow instructions in a fun and physical environment.
4) Learning That Success Takes Teamwork
One of the great things is that martial arts focuses on individual progress, but not without instructors and peers. Unlike team sports where winning and losing can outshine this teamwork, in martial arts it is about continuous improvement that. Classes begin and end with a bow, which both pays respect to the instructors and classmates, having learned and gotten through the class together.
Children will often make friends for life in the dojo and will feel pride and a sense of belonging. They will come to appreciate that their parents, who are there to pick up and drop off, to and from, each week — because they are a part of the team too!
5) Start To Spread Their Wings
Our goals as parents is to give our children the tools to become more independent. This will be a residual effect from all the great changes you will see in your child. With all the physical, mental, social and emotional benefits, children can't help but become more independent.
Martial arts requires children to learn to set goals and realize they can only be achieved through their own will and that there are no short cuts. Learning how to do a technique and progressing to the next level is completely based on the commitment put in by them.
Every child will benefit from training martial arts. You will see changes that will lead them to future success in life.