There’s no doubt that getting your kids started in martial arts is one of the best things you could ever do for them as a parent. The benefits range from focus and discipline to problem solving and confidence – all learned at a young age, while their minds and personalities are still malleable. And the best part? Once they’ve learned these values, the chances of them sticking with your kids for the rest of their lives is highly probable.
One challenge with children is getting them committed to an activity, martial arts being no different. Putting on a gi or a pair of Muay Thai shorts 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 fickle bunch. Getting them to eat their veggies is hard enough as it is! If you’ve managed to get your kids training but are wondering how to keep them motivated, read on for our tips.
1) Ease Them In
For adults, three to four times a week of their choice of martial arts class is the norm if they want to see improvement. But for kids, it’s different. The younger the child is, the tougher it is for him or her to stay focused on one activity. Slowly ease them into training martial arts and let them try different things – BJJ, Muay Thai, boxing – and when they’re older, they can decide which martial art they’d like to focus on. Let them go twice a week for a few months then move them up to three when they’re ready – there’s no rush!
2) Work With Them
Sometimes, kids can feel intimidated about martial arts classes, especially when there are certain techniques they can’t do. It’s only natural for anyone to feel this way, especially when there are other kids in the class who are doing better. Encourage your child to improve his or her all-around skills in martial arts. Whether it be learning left from right, running or jumping, the more confident and skilled he or she feels about her weaknesses, the more likely your child will want to continue with training martial arts.
3) Show That You Appreciate His Or Her Efforts
Praising kids for minimal effort isn’t always the right way to go, but if you want your child to stay motivated, you’ll need to up the praising. Whether it’s them being able to do a technique they had a tough time figuring out, or simply attending a class sans tears – give them a hug or a pat on the back when they deserve it. By showing your interest and approval, this will motivate your child to try harder and keep on showing up to training.
4) Do The Martial Art Together With Your Child
Leading by example always works, especially if you’d like your child to follow in your footsteps. Show your child that you love martial arts and that you enjoy training. Talk to them about what you did in class and tell them about your favorite instructors. The more fun it sounds like you’re having, the more motivated your child will be to train.
5) Be There
If you can’t train martial arts, try to be there and watch them train. You don’t have to yell from the sidelines or try to coach them – there are friendly instructors around for that. Instead, try to be present at all times. Switch off your smartphone and focus on your child, cheer him or her on when they look like they need it. Being there shows that you care, which will undoubtedly motivate them to keep on coming!
It doesn’t take much to keep your kids on the mats. By following the simple tips above, you’ll have a motivated martial artist in no time! Good luck!
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