6 Ways to Keep Your Child Interested in Karate
Know the Difference Between Lack of Interest and Loss of Passion
Your child begged you to enroll them in karate lessons. Every chance they got, they were practicing their high kicks on the kitchen cupboards. Finally, you agreed. Now comes that all too familiar moment that you totally saw coming: your child has decided that they want to quit.
While karate can be highly enjoyable for children of all ages, many parents find that their kids lose interest in the sport before they can reap the benefits that martial arts have to offer. Karate has numerous health benefits for kids, and it teaches them a variety of important life skills that they can transfer to their lives outside the dojo. But building these skills takes time, patience and dedication.
Discover why your child is losing interest in karate
There are a number of things you can do to keep your child interested in karate. But before you can do that, you need to figure out why your child wants to quit. Before you assume that they’re simply bored, make sure your child is not in a situation where their health or safety is at risk. Your child could be getting bullied, in which case changing their class schedule could be a simple solution.
In most cases, however, their reasons for quitting are less serious. Your child’s ability to persevere when the going gets tough could impact their success later in life. It’s important to teach your little ones not to give up, and to do their best to finish what they start.
Overcome the Fears of Sparring
A common misconception about karate is that it’s predominantly about facing an opponent in a sparring match. On the contrary, your child will learn quickly that the core values of karate are patience, discipline and acknowledge physical interactions only as a last resort.
If your child went into their class thinking they would be sparring every lesson, they might be thinking, “this isn’t what I signed up for!” Sparring may seem intimidating at first, but with the right training in a nurturing environment and loads of practice, it can be incredibly beneficial for your child. In fact, karate is an effective tool to help children cope with anger and aggression and aids in the development of healthy social skills.
They Are Not Progressing as Fast as They Would Like, Or It Becomes Too Challenging
In essence, karate is a process of combining several complex moves into one fluid motion. This means it can take weeks to master one move, which can be incredibly difficult. But it’s important for your child to learn that confidence does not come from avoiding challenges. Remind them that everyone fails, and that is how we learn.
Group environments can be stressful for your child, especially if they feel like their classmates are progressing faster than they are. This can cause them to fall behind or struggle with the curriculum. Consider scheduling some one-on-one time between your child and their instructor if this continues.
Short attention span
A lot of the time, your child’s desire to quit karate lessons can be chalked up to something as simple as a short attention span. Children go through many phases, and their interests grow and change with them. Maybe karate is taking time away from another activity your child enjoys, or they feel it is getting too repetitive. In these situations, it’s likely that your child will express regret if you simply allow them to quit. Instead, press on! If the disinterest persists, you may be experiencing a different issue.
6 Tips for keeping your child motivated to continue practicing karate
No matter the reason, don’t mistake your child’s discouragement for lack of interest in the sport itself. There is likely a simple solution to helping your child fall back in love with karate.
1. Go to A Tournament
Taking your child to a tournament is an exciting way to remind them what they’d be missing if they were to throw in the towel. Your little one won’t be able to resist the exciting and competitive atmosphere. You could attend a professional event, or even a local kids’ tournament. Watching more experienced kids compete reminds your child that with a little time and practice, they will be able to do that, too.
Not only will attending a tournament rekindle that spark for your child, but it’s bound to become a cherished memory for the whole family.
2. Show Them Videos to Amp Them Up
If attending an organized event in your area is not an option for you, showing your child a video of a professional martial artist in action works just as well. There are many tutorials and instructional videos floating around the internet that your child can use to practice on their own time. Or you can watch a karate movie.
If your child is interested in a particular move, try saying, “why don’t you ask your instructor about that during your next class?” This will give them a reason to look forward to their next lesson and can serve as a useful tool to help your child engage with their instructors and fellow students.
3. Be Consistent About Taking Them to Class
Establishing a routine and sticking to it will embed karate in your child’s life in a consistent way, making them less likely to feel the desire to quit. Enroll them in a class that works well with your schedule and theirs. The less you deviate from this routine, the more interest your child will show. If you are not willing to express your commitment, how can you expect any different from them?
4. Show your interest in what they’re learning
As a parent, your child looks up to you for inspiration and guidance. So, what better way to motivate your child to stick with their karate lessons than to show your interest in what they’re learning from class?
You can even ask them to demonstrate what they’ve learned after each session so you can participate in their at-home practice. Karate has many physical and mental health benefits for adults, as well. If your child sees you get excited about karate, they will be more inclined to get excited about it, too. Engaging in karate with your child can be as simple as saying, “Hey, show me how to do that kick you learned in class this week!”
5. Celebrate Their Accomplishments
One of the biggest perks of karate is that it offers your child tangible milestones. Showing your child that you’re just as excited as they are about that new belt is a great way to keep them motivated, whether you celebrate by taking them out for ice cream after class, or simply by offering words of encouragement.
As tempting as it may be, avoid pointing out ways your child can improve. This will cause them to associate karate with negativity. Leave constructive criticism to their instructor. Instead, try saying, “I can tell how hard you’ve been working” or “I love watching how much you improve every week!”
Your celebration doesn’t need to be elaborate or costly, as long as it reminds your child that their accomplishments are something to be proud of.
6. Talk to the Instructor
Often, your child’s instructor can provide a refreshing perspective. They could be noticing something you are not. If you mention your child’s desire to quit to their instructor, chances are, they will be eager to help! The issue could be that your child is not happy with the progress they are making with the current curriculum, and many instructors are happy to adjust their teaching in a way that better suits your child’s learning style. Another option is to request a one-on-one session between your child and their instructor. This will re-engage them and help them make significant progress at their own pace.
One of the most important skills karate will teach your child is discipline. Being disciplined means staying on course, which isn’t always easy. But encouraging your child to practice discipline will make their accomplishments taste that much sweeter.
Ultimately, all it takes to discourage your child from quitting karate lessons is to remind them why they joined in the first place. In many cases, their reasons for quitting have nothing to do with a lack of passion. If they refuse to give up and stick with it, karate will give your child valuable skills that they can carry with them throughout their lives.