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5 Strategies to Use When Kids Don't Want to Go to Martial Arts Class.

Even the best, most dedicated Karate kids have days where they just don't feel like going to class. And if you're a parent trying to convince your little one to get ready to go, it can feel almost IMPOSSIBLE when they just aren't in the mood.

When that happens, it probably feels something like this...

The thing is, most kids aren't naturally self-motivated. So, when your child isn't in the right mindset, even the most fun activities can be a struggle.

But here's the good news! Getting your child excited and motivated about going to Martial Arts class is easy with a few key strategies.

1. Plan Ahead:

Pay attention to what your child is doing before they are supposed to get ready for class. If they are playing video games, eating ice cream or spending time with their best friend. Then chances are they won’t be too excited when you tell them to stop and get ready to go. Instead, plan out a chore or task that’s not as much fun for the 15-30 minutes before your child needs to get ready for class.

2. Be Prepared:

No one likes to feel stressed out or rushed. The same goes for your Karate kid when they need to get ready to go to class. Give you and your child plenty of time to get ready for class and plan out extra time for unexpected delays. Also, make sure that your child’s uniform and equipment is packed and ready to go way ahead of time. It’s never fun having to scramble through drawers trying to find your Karate pants when you are already running five minutes late for class! I recommend getting everything ready the night before. But, do what works for you!

3. Keep It Positive:

Be aware of how you respond to your child’s performance after class. If you put too much emphasis on what they did wrong versus right, then those negative feelings will linger and create a negative association with Martial Arts training. Over time, your child won’t want to go to class because they will worry too much about being criticized afterwards. Don’t forget, your child is there to have fun! As their parent, be your child’s biggest supporter and cheerleader. Leave the criticism to the instructors.

4. Give Them A Break:

So many kids have their schedules packed with activities from dawn to dusk. Children need free time to play or relax and unwind. If your child goes straight form school to violin lessons, to Martial Arts class, to their soccer game and then has to do hours of homework before bed, then expect them to burn out on some or all of their activities. It doesn’t matter how much they love each activity, if your child’s schedule is over booked, chances are they will lose motivation to give their best effort.

5. Communicate With Your Instructor:

If you’ve tried all of the above strategies and still struggle with your child not wanting to go to class, then it’s time to talk to your instructor. Let the instructors know about your struggles so that they can be mindful to motivate your child before, during, and after class. It takes a village, so don’t be afraid to ask for support!

These strategies are mostly common sense. But, they are easily overlooked. As a busy parent, it’s easy to get caught-up in tons of daily tasks and responsibilities. It’s easy to sometimes forget that even situations like this need specific attention. So, I hope these strategies can make one issue that even the best parents have to deal with a little easier.

-Brian Schmidt

Master Instructor

Traditional Martial Arts Center

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