So you’ve finally convinced your kids to join a children’s martial arts class. After training several times a week for a few months, they’ve decided that they want to be future world champions just like their professors and you’re more than happy to support them. When they aren’t in class, they’re asking you about martial arts. But as with all things, there will come a day when your children are not as motivated, and it may be difficult to get them to go anywhere. What do you do then?
Wondering how to keep your child interested and motivated even when things start getting tough? Here’s how to keep your child happy and engaged throughout their martial arts journey.
1) Go out of your way to encourage them to train
While watching your child from the sidelines, go out of your way to cheer them on when they do a technique properly or if they are old enough to spar, do it when you see fit, even if it’s just for being a good sport. The more involved you are, the more motivated they’ll be to keep training. After class, you can point out what you liked most about their training session and how awesome you thought they were, and why.
2) Praise effort more than winning
One thing that kids love the most about being active and training martial arts is the challenge of giving something their all and doing their best. Seeing their hard work pay off for themselves is one of the most rewarding aspects of training martial arts. Instead of saying, “Wow, you’re really good at kicking that bag,” saying something that shows you appreciate their effort like, “I can see that you’ve been practicing a lot!” This way, you’re giving your child more incentive to improve.
3) Teach them to learn from their mistakes
We probably don’t know this, but kids actually enjoy learning from their mistakes. They feel gratified when they’re able to overcome challenges using new skills they’ve learned. But it takes a lot of getting used to, especially if your child is easily embarrassed.
— Evolve MMA (@EvolveMMA) June 1, 2019
Our tip? Ask them what they enjoyed most about their training session, particularly about the new techniques they learned. This way, they won’t be afraid of messing up – they’ll understand that it’s all part of the learning experience. Remind them that they can always ask their instructors for pointers, or if you practice martial arts yourself, drill with them until they get it right.
4) Tame that competitive streak
The more your child obsesses about winning, the more unmotivated he or she will be if ever she loses. If you find your kid being extra competitive, explain that he or she needs to respect how hard everyone has to work at training. That means no making fun of his or her teammates if they lose a spar, or if they can’t get a technique right. If you hear them saying any of the above, quickly point it out and tell them how much you appreciate him or her giving his or her all during training.
5) Tell them that their training partners love training with them
Even for adults, having good friends that they like training with could certainly make any activity fun. Parents can encourage their kids to go to training by explaining that their teammates will miss them if they don’t show up.
Parents, you play a big role in motivating your child. Remember, they have more to gain than just physical fitness each time they step on the mats. They’ll learn lifelong skills like discipline, self-confidence, goal setting – all-important benefits of martial arts. By following the tips above, you’ll see that it doesn’t take much to keep your kids on the mats! Good luck!
If you’re looking for an activity that will help your child develop physically, mentally, and emotionally, give martial arts a go!
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