As martial artists, we all know the importance of staying active and healthy. Unfortunately, not many adults take the initiative to get the right amount of daily physical activity they need to sustain a healthy lifestyle. And this bad habit starts at a young age.
Nowadays, many children opt to sit in front of the television or stay glued to their electronic devices instead of being active. As they get older, their level of inactivity increases. Coupled with an unhealthy diet, the risk for childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes increases, which could have an effect not only on their physical health but mental health as well. If parents refuse to take action, these bad habits could certainly roll over to adulthood.
If you’re looking for a way to convince your child to be more active and follow your footsteps into martial arts, look no further. Today, Evolve Daily shares 5 Ways Martial Artists Can Convince Their Kids To Start Martial Arts:
1) Be a good example
If you want your kids to start martial arts, then you need to do martial arts yourself — regularly. Studies show that fathers, in particular, have the biggest impact on the overall fitness and weight of their children. If you haven’t found the motivation to train in a few weeks or keep on finding ways not to train, remember, that your attitude about training could impact your children’s health for the rest of their lives.
There’s no doubt that leading by example is the best way to instill an interest in martial arts in your child. Yes, we understand that you have other responsibilities, but you should remember that you’re not only doing this for yourself, you’re doing it for your child too. If you want to make more time for training, but are lost for ideas, check out our article.
2) Share your journey with them
There’s nothing a child loves more than a good story. Share your martial arts journey with your child and make it a regular topic of conversation. Tell him or her about what you’ve done at training and why you started in the first place. You may think that your child wouldn’t be interested in the subject, but you’d be surprised at how engaged they’ll be once they hear your story.
Start off with some funny anecdotes about training, share your goals and talk about your favorite instructors. Perhaps there’s a particular martial artist that you look up to – share his or her story with your child. By regularly talking about martial arts, you’re reinforcing the importance of martial arts in one’s life.
3) Play with them
In their book The Art of Roughhousing, Anthony DeBenedet and Larry Cohen claim that instead of teaching kids to be violent, roughhousing “makes kids smart, emotionally intelligent, loveable and likeable, ethical, physically fit, and joyful.” And there’s no one better at the art of roughhousing than a martial artist!
Because you train martial arts, you’ve probably drilled with or sparred against someone lighter and physically weaker than you are. Roughhousing with your child is pretty much the same thing – you need to keep it safe, and most importantly, keep it fun! Of course, when your child asks how they can get better at roughhousing, this would be a great time to promote martial arts and convince them to start training.
4) Turn everything into a game
If you’ve ever watched a Little Samurai class at Evolve MMA, you’ll notice that the professors, as much as possible, try to turn the lessons into a game. This works especially for the younger children. You can adopt the same idea with your young ones at home. Try engaging your child by playing games that are related to balance, flexibility and coordination. If they find these games fun, they’ll certainly find any martial arts class fun as well.
5) Be each other’s support system
Since you and your child can’t actually train together during actual martial arts classes, you can both play active roles in each other’s training journey. As a parent, try to attend as many of your child’s classes as possible. The fact that your child knows you’re there to watch and support him will undoubtedly encourage him to train even more. When you can, take your child to training with you or let him or her watch you compete. By making your child feel as if you rely on him for support as well, he will feel much more important and obliged to be more active.
As a parent, it is your duty to enforce a culture of an active lifestyle in your home. To encourage your child to train martial arts, you must lead by example and train as often as you can. By reinforcing this attitude, your child will undoubtedly continue to be active and healthy for the rest of his or her life as well as his or her own children’s lives.