Karate makes everything better for kids. Many children get started in their karate training as early as the age of four or five. Unfortunately, only a small number of kids will go all the way to their junior black belt. Children need positive reinforcement and encouragement from their parents in order to stay in karate and succeed. We know parents want their children to do well in karate, but they don’t understand what is needed. Here are some basic suggestions for parents in order to help their children succeed:
This can be done simply by having parents attend as many of their child’s classes as possible. They can also join an adult karate class of their own and then practice with their child at home. “It was important for my kids to take self-defense, fitness, and confidence,” says “karate parent” Rob Stewart. “It was important for me to lead by example and take classes myself.” Finally, the parents can join in with the kids during a family karate class. Even if karate isn’t an activity a parent wants to focus on long term, at least being in a few classes will help them learn a thing or two.
Provide the Necessary Equipment
Most sports require a uniform and equipment, and karate is no different. You would not expect a child to play hockey without a stick. Give the child what is needed for karate: fighting gloves, a gi, mouthguard, groin protector, and foot protectors. Unfortunately this does add to the total cost, but having a nice karate uniform promotes pride and your child’s safety is paramount.
Help Them Have Fun
A lot of kids decide to drop out of karate because it stops being fun for them. A positive parental attitude, frequent compliments, praise, encouragement, laughter, and interest will go a long way toward keeping it fun. Karate at its best is a unique combination of serious business and fun. Parents must help children find that balance.
Nutrition and Rest
Young children are prone to becoming frustrated, weepy, and irritable if they are hungry or tired. Make sure the child gets sufficient sleep and a meal or snack before practice. Boost them up with a meal or a healthy snack an hour before practice, and a nap a few hours before if they’ve had a busy day.
Don’t Judge the Child
Parents must be positive and complimentary. The sensei should be the one to correct the student. Parents need to be able to live with their child’s technical mistakes and not criticize them. Your child and the sensei prefer it this way. Criticism from the sensei can be taken on its technical merits, but criticism from a parent can be devastating to a child’s motivation and attitude.
Follow these tips, and you can be a supportive karate parent for your karate kid.