Initiative is a tough thing to inspire in kids. It’s hard for kids to even grasp the concept. But parents are constantly trying to drive their kids to get excited about things, to get outside, to do push-ups, to read books and leave the iPad.
Some of these things (the push-ups, for instance) karate impacts directly. Some are indirectly inspired by black belt training; better health, strength, and confidence helps kids want to go on hikes, for example, and the social atmosphere on in the karate schools helps kids make new friends and relate to adults and peers in positive ways.
There are some science-backed ways to motivate kids. They include providing encouragement for kids instead of rewards. Inspiring natural curiosity, and praising the process rather than the outcome of what kids pursue at home and school.
How does karate relate? Well, there’s a lot of natural curiosity, for kids and parents, about earning and becoming a black belt. Kids see instructors (some of whom are just in their teens or college) doing tornado kicks and other cool moves and want to be like them. They see their parents on the mat and learning alongside them.
Black belt training also helps kids understand the importance of routine, good habits, and process. Lining up at attention, listening, doing their best to hit that last push-up or sit up or sidekick on the back wall—these are things that parents witness and praise, whether their kids are at white belt or any further on.
And each new belt is a reward in itself. Kids earn these belts; they may sometimes fail to earn them on schedule, and this can be upsetting, but karate kids with a goal of black belt always get the support and encouragement of the instructors, and use that inspiration to try again.
If you’re curious about what karate can do for your children, click here to get started.