We’ve all been there. You enroll your child into a new activity and eventually they’re going to say something along the lines of “I don’t want to go.” How do we handle that as parents? Every parent will have their own answer, but it’s something we have to consider when signing kids up for classes.
Even as adults, there are many days we don’t want to go to the gym or to a class. After a long day at work, we’re not motivated to go to the gym, we’re motivated to go home and relax. But becoming great at something isn’t about motivation, it’s about discipline. Of course, discipline being a core component of martial arts. After that long day at work, you discipline yourself to go to the gym because you want to be healthy, be fit, etc. But it’s ok to give ourselves passes now and again so we don’t burn out. I suggest the same with children.
Even my own children, who I have to brag are pretty sharp in their skills, have days they don’t want to come to the dojo. When I hear things like “I’m too tired” or “I just don’t want to today”, I know that 99.9% of the time when I take them, they are glad they went afterwards. However, I will give them a pass now and again when they don’t want to go. Now and again being maybe once a month.
We don’t want to teach our children to give up on things when they are hard, or when they just don’t feel like it. We want to teach strength and discipline, and doing things that are difficult help with that. I suggest at least 2 classes a week so they’re picking up good skills and practicing, but maybe 3 is too much for some so we avoid burnout and less moments of them trying to skip class.
I can remember when I was a child and my parents took me to piano lessons. I hated it. I’d rather play video games than sit in front of the piano. However, that experience lead me to learn many more instruments and making music another love of my life. I recently started teaching our kids piano, and thrilled that I can pass that on. I’m sure every parent has a similar story. I’m sure every adult has a I wish I would have, but didn’t story.
Later in life, I thanked my parents for making me stick through it because of what music taught me over the years. I believe even more so in the useful skills and emotional intelligence that will come from kids practicing martial arts. Having your kids stick with it will benefit their lives in numerous ways!
- Be ready for the “I don’t want to go” moments with your kids. I suggest come up with your own way to tell them that they’re still going to class, but check in with them afterwards and see how they enjoyed it. I can guarantee you that almost 100% of the time they will say they had fun! …and remind them that they didn’t want to go and now they’re glad they did.
- Take them to class regularly, but avoid burnout. Give them a pass now-and-again, but let them know it’s a limited pass. Talk to them about how being disciplined helps them grow as a martial artist and as a person, how it makes them stronger.
We all want the best for our children, but sometimes they will not see that until years later when they thank you as adults themselves.
See you at the Dojo!