As the parent of a preschooler, you know you aren’t faced with too few alternatives when it comes to extracurricular activities for your kids, but too many. All too soon, your life will be taken over with shuttling your loved one from one activity or part-time caretaker to another and back home again. Your only real choice in the matter is where you will be taking your kid and what he or she will be doing there.
And this age, 3-5, is the only chance you’ll have to make that decision without your child thinking he or she has the right to weigh in with their own opinion. By the time they’re in little-kids’ school, they’ll have an opinion about everything. This is your one interference-free shot as a parent to set your kid’s feet on the right path—make the most of it!
Martial Arts Classes for Kids 3-5 Rule! Here’s Why…
It’s common knowledge that toddler and preschoolers’ brains are little learning machines. As we age, our brains become slower and slower to adapt to new information, but as kids, our brains are designed to pick up and integrate new intelligence easily and naturally. Habits ingrained at this age will become general inclinations for the rest of their lives. We have a chance to do some real damage here—or do some real good.
Not coincidentally, special parenting challenges at this age begin to include various expressions of toddlers and preschoolers testing boundaries. Namely, the parents’. And with society’s ‘rules’ seeming to be changing so quickly, it can be confounding to know just where to draw the line. This is where kids’ martial arts instruction beats every other extracurricular activity going away. In most martial arts programs for children, the first emphasis is always placed on character development.
While there is community and physical fitness and an introduction to the discipline’s philosophy, in childrens’ martial arts classes, before there are any of those, there is a laser-like focus on the students’ personal discipline and integrity, whose centerpiece is respect for the parents as well as for themselves. And their school and their peers and their community…
Really, it’s all about the respect.
Why Martial Arts Classes For Your 3-5 Year-Old?
There are many reasons. Because the instructors are specially-trained and experienced in working with students who have attention spans shorter than an action-sequence edit. Because toddlers who whip out the occasional unselfconscious “yes, sir” or “no, ma’am” at home are kind of cool to have around. But mainly because your toddler is going to be picking up influences he or she will carry with them for the rest of their lives from their environment at this age, and the environment of most martial arts schools for kids 3-5 tends to be an extremely welcoming, supportive and nurturing one.
Along with the emphasis on behavioral development, toddlers are introduced to the basics of finding their focus and honing it (no mean feat, and one that will be at the core of their instruction for years to come); self-control, assertiveness, teamwork and courtesy.
Benefits (To You) of Karate For Kids
The benefits of karate for kids reveal themselves from your first free visit, which is a standard accommodation in the industry. The studio owners want you to come in and sample their wares. See the instructors in action. Watch them interact with children the same age as your own. Observe how the toddlers on the mats in their white uniforms and often, colorful belts behave themselves, and how quickly most of them pull themselves together when they are asked to. Most first-time visitors come away wondering, “Where did they find those kids?”
They didn’t find most of them that way, but working alongside the parents and with their communities, the school owners and operators helped make them that way. And they’ll continue working with those kids, many of them through their K-12 experience and beyond.
Additionally, unlike some other available kids’ activities, parents and friends at martial arts schools are usually prohibited from yelling support or ‘advice’ from the sidelines. The respect the school teaches extends to all those in attendance, students and guardians alike. It makes for a very seemly way to spend 30-40 minutes, the usual class length for children of this age.
Some Appropriate Martial Arts to Consider for Younger Children
Most of the disciplines whose names end in “-do”—Taekwondo, Aikido, Judo—are sports oriented as opposed to having self-defense for kids in mind. Your future warrior ninja can switch disciplines later on if he or she chooses, but for the purposes of training-up your average preschooler, it might be wise to stick to the sporting disciplines and give the combat arts a rain-check.
Taekwondo: A Korean discipline that combines combat and self-defense techniques and draws its inspiration from many other disciplines.
Aikido: A Japanese martial art initially designed to allow the student to protect themselves without injuring the attacker by redirecting the attacker’s force.
Judo: A ‘modern’ Japanese martial art, its emphasis is also more on subduing an attack than demolishing the attacker.
There are classes tailored for most schedules and budgets. Your availability and budget are two of the first things to consider when looking for a martial arts school for their preschooler or toddler.
Among other important questions to consider are, does the school have a fully certified and licensed staff of instructors? Is there a theme-based curriculum and belt or other reward system? Do the facilities inspire confidence? What extra costs might occur down the road if you make the initial financial commitment? What questions should I have thought to ask but haven’t?
It doesn’t cost anything to stop in at your local studio, the one you pass every day on the way to work, and talk to the person running the front desk. It’s also usually free to attend a class with your child and talk to the other parents present. Most schools encourage a sense of community among ‘friends and family’ of the academy’s student body and are eager to welcome new members. Get a feel for the room, and watch your child’s peers perform undreamed-of feats of personal courtesy and physical derring-do!
It also doesn’t cost anything to let us help find the right school for you. It only takes a moment to answer a few questions, then based on your responses, we will present you with a selection of martial arts schools in your area, all of which already meet your search criteria.