Martial arts classes for children can be incredibly valuable for a child’s physical and mental development. While the benefits are significant, some kids may find their first martial arts class very intimidating. The first step in preparing your child for their first martial class is to take your time to source the right school and instructors for your son and/or daughter.
Once you discover a good fit, set up a pre-class routine for your child, so they go into each class ready to learn and move. Watching classes can also reveal what you can work on, especially when your child is nearing a belt promotion. When class is over, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to chat, helping your child reinforce what they’ve learned that day. Here are our thoughts on how you can help prepare your kids for martial arts classes.
Find Great Instructors
Looking for a good martial arts school with excellent instructors may be the hardest part of this process. First, find the styles of martial arts your child is interested in and search for the options you have in your community. Visiting each school is crucial and speaking to the master and the potential instructors can reveal a lot, as can watching a class. Most schools will offer trial classes; utilize this chance to see how the instructor teaches the class.
With all of the significant character-building benefits of martial arts, an instructor that capitalizes on opportunities to teach life lessons and the martial arts tenets is optimal. A children’s class instructor should also be great with kids, firm and assertive while being kind and respectful. As you won’t always find the perfect fit on the first try, don’t be afraid to attend trial classes at multiple schools, before you make your decision on a membership.
Preparing for Class
Kids who go to school and participate in extracurricular activities can lead hectic lives. Ensuring they get enough sleep and rest is key, especially if they’re involved in other physical activities in addition to martial arts. Eating between an hour to three hours before their class can help them feel energized, without feeling too full. Their last meal before class should be high in protein and low in fat. As well, always pack a water bottle so they can stay hydrated, especially in the warmer months.
Now that they’re satiated, setting an intention together with your child can help frame their minds to learn as much as possible. If your child has a skill or form that they need to work on, setting this as their intention can increase their focus. A new intention should be set ahead of each class. If your child is feeling down, setting a plan to have fun in class can help keep their motivation up. Meditation can also clear their minds before class and it can be an activity you practice together. Once you and your child know what works well, setting up a pre-class routine can help them get set for class, the same time, and every time.
While watching every class may not be possible, catching some of them can help you see what your child likes, what they dislike, as well as where there is room for improvement. This is extra helpful for the child, when they’re nearing their belt test. Chatting to your child to see how they felt about class and what they learned can help you understand their training better, while reinforcing the key learning points. This can also reveal how they could practice at home, with or without your assistance.
You may also consider having them keep a class log of their activities, so they always remember what they’ve worked on, while allowing you a better idea of just how they are interpreting each class. Finally, talk to your child’s instructor on a semi-regular basis, to find out what they can work on and to see their general progress.
For more information on how you can help prepare kids for class as a martial arts school owner, check out our automated attendance and email marketing features. Check-ins can be quick or you can help create a pre-class routine at the school. Class preparation tips are also a great topic for your newsletters to students and parents.