Simple Boundaries, Structure, and Exercise Can Get Your Kids off the Couch This Spring

Hey parents, has it been a long winter? It’s not only the weather that can keep us stuck inside. It’s a state of mind, too, and there’s no time like early spring (thank you Punxsutawney Phil!!) to reset. If you’re looking to get your kids out of the winter doldrums and ready to embrace the season, consider these three pillars: Boundaries, Structure, and Exercise.


Parenting Coach Sue Atkins says the following about setting rules and boundaries for kids: “Structure and rules not only make bringing up a happy, confident well-behaved child easier, they’re also essential. Trying to raise a responsible, cooperative child without age-appropriate boundaries is setting your child up for failure, unpopularity & stress because a well-balanced, self-regulated adult, starts with a child able to follow your rules first until they can self-regulate their own behaviour.”

Rules can start with limiting screen time, making sure chores are done, and getting a bit of exercise (see below). Your kids’ teachers at school are working on the same wavelength, setting rules so that the school day runs smoothly and kids get as much out of the experience as they can. By setting rules at home, you’re setting your kids up for success at school, too.


Healthy routines start with the basics. Regular waking and bedtimes, healthy meals, exercise, time together with friends and family, and time alone. Structured activities like sports or after-school clubs help reinforce the importance of routine (consider the warm-ups, stretching, intense forms and practice routines, and cool-down parts of karate class). These routines give kids a platform to learn, as well as help each other stay on track and improve along the way.


Here’s a quote from an article on the benefits of exercise for children (from the University of California San Diego’s School of Medicine): “Overall, exercise not only improves physical development for children, but improves how well their brain functions. While aerobic activity does help children grow strong, fit, and healthy, there are other benefits, such as improved memory, improved focus, and emotional benefits.“

This is long-held wisdom. As parents, we’ve been sending the kids outside to play (to “get the wiggles out”) every chance we get. It’s just good for them. When they sit down to homework or dinner, kids are more focused (breathless, maybe, but focused). They’re happier. They’re more tuned in.

Together, boundaries, structure and regular exercise help:

  • Promote responsibility, respect, and self-discipline
  • Enhance time management, organization, and self-regulation skills
  • Improve physical health, cognitive function, and emotional well-being
  • Foster independence, confidence, and resilience
  • Strengthen parent-child relationships through shared activities and communication

Martial arts reinforces all these pillars of the parenting triad. Rules and expectations are set from the moment families walk into the school. New students see classes in action, all belt levels following instructions, responding to instructors, helping each other and showing respect. The routines are built into the karate curriculum, and students carry these routines back in their relations at home and school. Of course exercise is a given in martial arts, but every class makes it fun (yes, push-ups and sprints—not to mention board breaks—can be fun).

Ready to give karate a shot? Find our latest spring-oriented offers here and spring onto your journey to black belt.

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