Why Your 4 Year Old Needs Karate
Have you ever struggled with how to get your 4 year old to look at you in the eyes and pay attention for at least one part of the day? Have you struggled with getting them to actually do what you tell them to do? Let’s face it, these days in age kids do not have a good outlet for their hyperactivity and learning how to control themselves when doing different activities. Karate has been proven to help your child develop focus, respect, self-discipline, and teaching them how to control their energy! These 4 reasons will help you understand why your 4 year old needs Karate.
Child experts say that a normal child’s attention span is calculated by multiplying their age by anywhere between 2 to 4 minutes. Wait, let’s stop for a moment; so you might be saying “My 4 year old should be able to focus on a task for 16 whole minutes?!”. We all know that’s nearly impossible, or is it? Simply watch your child build something with Legos. They typically will stay focused, because it is something that they enjoy doing. In karate we teach our 4 year olds what focus means and they are also learning how to do it in something they love, like punching and kicking. However, learning how to understand the technique requires them to focus on the instructor. Therefore, if they can focus on the things they like to do, then we can make the so called “boring things” interesting for them to do.
Along with focus, respect follows as well. Wonder why you can’t get your 4 year old to do things the first time they are told? It’s a must for all kids to show respect and to actually follow through and do the things they are told to do. This is an important issue that we address in Karate. When your 4 year old starts with little things in karate like throwing a punch when told, or saying “Yes Sir! or Yes Ma’am!” consistently, it will eventually take place at home and even at school. It’s the little things that lead to the big picture, especially with 4 year olds. If you give a child a big task to do, most likely they will forget many steps, so we start with the little steps.
Now that we know how students develop respect in Martial Arts, how in the world do they start doing things on their own? In karate we call this the 0 Rule, to do things without being told to do them. Ultimately, no one can force 4 year olds to do things on their own. They have to make their own decisions to do what they know is right. This is what our students strive for, making the correct decisions on whether it’s waiting in line, waiting for their turn, or spinning in a circle. As with Respect, if they can make the little decisions, then they can make the big ones, like cleaning their room or even brushing their teeth on their own.
Finally, all 4 year olds are like little balls of energy spiraling out of control. The question I get from parents all the time is “ How do I control this energy?”. We teach them to learn how to focus that energy into their karate techniques. Using power and speed with their punches and kicks helps use their energy. There is no way to simply make all of that energy go away or make them be calm, but it can be transferred to something else so it does not get out of control. This is another great skill that takes time to develop that karate will definitely help with.
These 4 reasons are exactly why your 4 year old needs karate. If they start learning these skills young, when they are older it will not be as difficult to use these skills effectively. So why not give it a try? Karate is a great start. I guarantee you will not regret it!
By Daniel Corley