There’s always a first time for everything. Do you remember when it was your child’s first day of school? Their first time being away from you? Or even their first trip to a memorable place, like the zoo or amusement park. These are places and events that your child will react differently to. They can react by being scared, afraid of being alone, excited, happy, etc. The same goes for their first Martial Arts class. If you are a parent who just enrolled your child for Martial Arts classes, here’s how to prepare them for their first Martial Arts class.
1. Being nervous is OK
Let’s face it. Everyone gets nervous their first time doing anything. That shouldn’t be any different for your child. Remember that they’re going into a totally new environment different from what they’re used to. They’ll be dressed differently, see many different faces and will have a new authority figure. It’s OK for them to be nervous. Just like all their other first experiences, guide them through it successfully. If your child cries, that’s completely ok too. Don’t freak out. Freaking out and overreacting to your child crying will add fuel to the fire. Put your trust in the karate school and their instructors. Eventually your child will adapt to the change in environment and begin to have lots of fun.
2. Encourage but don’t push
Many parents are guilty of it. It’s natural to want your child in excel in everything they do. But there’s a thin line between healthy encouragement and pushing beyond reason. Remember that what your child may have seen on TV is very different from what they’ll experience in real life. It’s the same with Martial Arts classes. Yes they see many cool techniques and moves, but most of those techniques take time to learn and perfect. They won’t learn everything they see on TV overnight. Try not to be so hard on your kid if they don’t learn new things right away. Don’t push them so hard to the point where they’ll want to give up, being too afraid of failure or too afraid to disappoint you. Instead, give them healthy encouragement. Be their pillar of success. If they fall, be there to pick them up to try again. If they’re seemingly distraught during class, remind them how cool it was in the beginning and how they’ll practice to be perfect. Don’t push behind them, rather walk along side them and guide them through.
3. Be a cheerleader
It’s as simple as is sounds. Be a cheerleader. Be the best cheerleader for your child during and after class. Provide praise when things are done correctly and provide encouragement when they need a little boost. Remember that your child wants to please you in every way possible, especially during a Martial Arts class. They are “on stage” and want you to be proud of them. When you’re cheering on your child, it gives them an incredible boost to their self-esteem. You’ll notice that they’ll want to try harder, practice more and attend class more often. So make it clear that you’re proud that they are trying their best learning new skills and a martial art. Most importantly, let them know that you’re proud of them.
It may seem simple enough, but often times many parents forget that learning and perfecting a martial art takes time. Don’t push your child too hard and discourage them. Healthy encouragement is key, and cheering them on will lead them to succeed. That’s how to prepare your child for their first Martial Arts class. Their first Martial Arts class may be frightening for them, but after a few times, it will be all fun.
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At the American Karate Institute, we teach a way of life. Our Miami martial arts school has developed a well thought out curriculum that teaches more than just the art of self-defense. Contact us today and schedule two free-trial classes!