Without question, getting your kids started in martial arts is one of the best things you could ever do for them as a parent. It offers such a wide range of benefits, from focus and discipline to problem solving and confidence, all learned while their minds and personalities are still forming. And the best part? Once they’ve learned these values, they will stick with your kids for the rest of their lives.
One of the biggest challenges is getting them committed to an activity, martial arts being no exception. Putting on a uniform once or twice is different from actually taking the time to attend training at least twice a week. It can be tough, especially with kids being such a choosy age. You’ve managed to get your kids training but are wondering how to keep them motivated, read on:
1) Start Slowly
For adults, three times a week of martial arts class is a good start if they want to see improvement. But for kids, it’s different. The younger the age of the child, the harder it is for them to stay on one activity. Slowly ease them into training martial arts and when they’re older, they can choose what they’d like can focus on. Let them go twice a week for a while then bump them up to three when they’re ready – don't rush it!
2) Team Up
Sometimes, kids can be afraid of martial arts classes, especially when there are certain things they think they can’t do. It’s only natural for anyone to feel this way. Encourage your child to focus of little improvements. The more confident and skilled they feel about their weaknesses, the more likely they will want to continue.
3) Be A Cheerleader
Praising kids for little effort isn’t the right thing, but if you want your child to stay motivated, you’ll need to do some praising. Whether it’s them being able to do a technique they had a tough time with, or simply showing up for class, give them a hug when they deserve it. When you show your interest and approval, your child will be motivated to try harder and keep on training.
4) Join In
Lead by example! Show your child that you can benefit also from the martial arts and that you enjoy training. Talk to them about what you did in class and tell them about your favorite techniques. The more you enjoy it, the more likely your child will be motivated to train.
5) Be Present
If you can’t train, be there and watch them train. Don’t yell or try to coach them – that is the instructors job. But try to be present for classes. Silence your smartphone, pay attention to your child, cheer them on when they they need it. It shows that you care, which will motivate them to keep on coming!