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Communication to children

How are you communicating the importance of your child's training?

Posted: May 17, 2017

Enrolling your child in a martial arts program is just the first step in achieving the outcomes you want for them. Just like signing up for a gym isn't going to make you the next great swimsuit model a martial arts membership isn't going to make your child more disciplined, confident, and focused without putting in the work.

So how should you as a parent communicate the importance of your child's training to them. Well, let's first remember that communication take all different forms. Kids and adults are both guilty of their words saying one thing but their actions communicating something completely different. So we need to make sure our actions and words match when we are communicating the importance of training to our children.

Here are four tips on helping your family understand the importance of their training:

  1. Reinforce the Life Skills Weekly - As a part of our ATA Tiger and Karate for Kids programs we focus on a life skill every testing cycle. If you want your family to understand the importance of what they are doing in the martial arts you should be using these life skills actively in the home as well.
    Look for opportunities to give examples about the life skills at home. Reinforce when you child uses one of the life skills properly. One of the easiest ways to help communicate the importance of these life skills is by taking the Yellow Stripe (Life Skills) worksheet seriously and actively discussing it at home. This will make a big difference in helping your child see their training as not just a sport or extra activity, but as a serious commitment that they've entered into.
  2. Create an Iron Clad Schedule - If you want to communicate the importance of training (or any commitment) make sure it gets scheduled and there are few to no exceptions. Class isn't an optional activity if you're dedicated to helping your child succeed. Class is a commitment your family makes 2-3 times a week without fail. Having a set schedule that is non-negotiable communicates the concept of follow-through and helps everyone involved know that you value the activity.
  3. Show Up - Actions speak louder than words! When your child is in class watch them. Give them a thumbs up and encourage them. Remember the way you behave while watching class is the way your children will learn to behave while watching others. Don't judge and correct them when it's not the appropriate time. (That's the instructor's job!) Encourage them with smiles while being quite so they know where they should be focusing. Your presence and focus on them and the class will communicate loud and clear what you expect from them.
  4. Remind Them of Their Why - Every parent and student have a reason for starting a martial arts training program. There will come times when children (and sometimes parents) forget that reason and then stop communicating through words and actions their lack of care for training. These are the times that we need to make sure to remind ourselves and our students of their why. Why is it important that they train? What is their motivation and goal? What will make it worth the effort in the end? These are the questions we need to help answer for children as they train.

Start with these four tips in your verbal and nonverbal communication with your child about their training. I promise that if you start with these you'll go a long way to helping your family achieve the goals you set out to achieve with our martial arts program.