Martial arts has a well-known benefit of helping children develop physical skills and improve in discipline. For this reason, parents often enroll their children in some type of martial arts in order to achieve goals such as these. And while attaining these goals are possible, parents often have unrealistic expectations of the time it actually takes for children to get there.
Of course, age, stage of development, as well as a myriad of other things go into exactly how quickly a specific child will accomplish a certain goal. But there is one thing that is the same across the board. When children start martial arts, it is important for parents to remember that their child is starting a new sport, with new people, in a new environment, and learning new information. This would be a bit overwhelming for anyone. Certainly, older children may handle this pressure a little better, but parents should expect a certain amount of adjustment from any age.
The SKILLZ program’s age-specific curriculum was specifically designed to target individual age groups and work on skills that are essential for their stage of development. Within this framework, each age group is also broken down to address physical, intellectual, emotional, and social development that is appropriate for that age. By creating the program in this way, children are able to achieve more in a quicker amount of time because the goals are challenging but also achievable.
Parents, however, must keep in mind that children are all different and develop and attain goals at different times. In a specific age group, there are also children that have been in the class for a longer period of time and have worked on the skills for that age group longer. However, even for two children of the same age and starting at the same time, one may achieve a specific skill quicker than another.
Let’s take this from a different view as well. Even if parents aren’t comparing their child to another, they often feel that their child should achieve a certain goal after only a short time of training. While parents will see some development and improvement in skills after a few weeks, expecting them to suddenly have a specific skill mastered, after a short time, is unrealistic.
As they say, “slow and steady wins the race.” As children develop, we need to remember that they will get there when their bodies and minds are ready. Expecting certain things of a child that they are not physically, intellectual, emotionally, or socially ready for can do more harm than good. The key is to make sure there is consistent training and practice of the skills and celebrate small and steady wins along the way.