Does your child have a hard time making good decisions or trouble following the rules? The good news is that they are not doing this on purpose. After years of working with students and observing the emotional and social stages of development, we recognize that every decision they make (Good or Bad) ultimately has a positive intention.
One of the best things a parent and martial arts instructor can do is set our kids up for success. The way we accomplish this on the mat is by promoting good behaviors. By fostering good behaviors, we begin to develop a “feel good” pattern when kids do something correctly. Here are a few tips you can use at home to prompt good behavior!
Observe your child in action:
Observe what decisions or habits they struggle with and the signs related to that behavior. Choose 1 or 2 decisions or habits that you want them to improve upon. This could be something like remembering to brush their teeth before they go to bed or putting their toys away when they are finished playing.
Create opportunities for action:
Create opportunities for them to make good decisions. This may require dropping subtle hints to get the ball rolling. The idea is to put them in a position to make good choices on their own. For example, after finishing dinner, you can say “Can you show me where to put my plate since we are done eating?”
Reward their action:
Timing is everything! After you create an opportunity and your child makes a proper decision, reward them. It is even better if you can catch them doing well when they least expect it. Tell them how proud you are that they were able to think it through. Acknowledge that they did something fantastic and give them a big hug or high-five!
Lastly, helping your child develop good decision-making skills is a process. They will undoubtedly need many hints and lots of repetition before it becomes the habit. Always be on the lookout for good behavior and reinforce it daily.
Our most important tool is the knowledge that the James Martial Arts Academy provides regarding the stages of development for your youth and our ability to prompt good behavior. These tools help us to guide our students and keep them going in the right direction. We hope you found this helpful; if you have any questions, feel free to ask us anytime!
Sifu Darryl and Mom Washington and the James Martial Arts Academy