If you think that martial arts classes are just for kids, think again. Although your little one and his friends might get a kick out of their karate class, there are plenty of programs that offer options for parents to join in as well. Taking a parent-child, or family, martial arts class with your kid has a bevy of benefits that can help you to bond with your child and better understand what he is learning.
Before opening up the local kids' class directory and calling the first martial arts studio that you see, learning a thing or two about these often-ancient disciplines can help you to make a more informed choice when it comes to picking a parent-child class. Remember, this class isn't only for your child, it is also for you and your family. Some forms of martial arts may focus more on sparring, competition or combat than others. These most likely aren't the ideal when it comes to a family-friendly class. For example, Bando Thaing is a Burmese style that focuses mostly on armed and unarmed combat. Other martial arts styles that focus on discipline and physical conditioning, such as karate, judo and tang soo do, are a better fit when it comes to a parent-child program.
While no sport is completely safe for your child, some parents may wonder if the kicking and punching of a martial arts class makes this type of athletic endeavor more dangerous than others. Taking a family martial arts class with your child can help you to feel more secure in the safety measures that the school has in place to keep your little one from getting unnecessarily hurt. Additionally, you can keep an eye on your child and make sure that she is following safety measures adequately. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children in martial arts classes wear protective equipment that includes headgear, body pads and mouth guards. Going to class and learning about the safety practices with your child can help to make sure that she is staying safe and that you feel comfortable with what she is doing.
According to the athletics experts at the Educated Sports Parent website, moms and dads can impact a child's experience playing (or learning about) a sport by getting involved. What better way to show your little one just how involved you are in his martial arts class than joining in? Doing so gives you time to bond with your child, plus it shows him that you are interested in his hobby and allows you to spend time together. Additionally, joining in on the learning gives you the opportunity to take the training home, practicing together during non-class times. This can provide your child with an extra layer of encouragement and a feeling that you are part of her learning experience.
If you don't have time to hit the gym or don't want to pay the extra money to hire a babysitter just so you can get a quick workout in, joining a martial arts class with your child is a creative solution to finding time to exercise. The physical benefits of martial arts include increased strength, better coordination and flexibility. Self-confidence and improved ability to focus are other benefits, says Healthy Children. While you might initially sign your child up for a martial arts class to make sure that he gets these benefits, joining in yourself can have a profound effect on your own physical health as well.