Not to compare children to our K-9 counterparts, but until they reach a certain age, children can easily be distracted by the things in this world that are loud, flashy, or loved the most. This constant flow of stimuli requires an extreme amount of self-discipline and focus that children don’t have at a very young age.
Once you’ve taught kids to focus, then you have to add to that skill set the ability to regulate their behavior themselves to stay on task. Ignoring a squirrel running by is one thing, but when a child’s best friend is encouraging him or her to join them in an off-task behavior or even behavior that might get them in trouble it is difficult to resist.
Having the self-discipline to not join in on the shenanigans (when inappropriate) can really benefit your child throughout their academic career and their social life. It can keep them out of trouble, it can help them achieve greater things, and it will help them stay out of trouble.
How Does Kids Martial Arts Class Engrain Self-Discipline?
It may seem so tiny, but every small behavior when a child is very young adds up to a bigger behavior as they get older. We start with high expectations for our youngest martial artists in the class. As self-discipline is a progression of child development we can help further it along by encouraging our youngest to stay on task and not give in to their every urge.
What does this look like?
Our pre-school and early elementary aged students are together in class working through their forms. Maybe someone’s shoe squeaks and it gets a giggle from everyone. The immediate urge might be to make that sound again, but this time on purpose. In the studio, if a child were to do this, we would gently discourage that and give positive reinforcement when they comply – or resist in the first place.
With consistency and regular positive reinforcement, the children will learn to control those basic urges because they know it is inappropriate in the given setting.
Over the course of time, they will begin to exhibit this self-control in other settings as well. They will understand that in class, to show respect for their teacher, they should behave as expected which goes against some of the natural impulses they may feel.
At home, they may not want to eat their peas. The reactionary urge may be to throw them, throw a fit, whine and/or complain. With gentle discouragement and positive reinforcements, our goal is that they may still express their disdain for peas, but resist the urge to display that feeling in ways that are impulsive and less than helpful in the situation.
If you’re interested in a full character development program that encourages self-discipline while still being fun, we urge you to consider our children’s martial arts program. We offer a free semi-private class, so you and your child can check us out. Call today to schedule your free class!
Owings Mills: (443) 394-9222
Marriottsville: (443) 545-5566