- Provide Structure: Create a similar schedule every day and your child will get used to the routine. When they know what they are supposed to be doing, they will be less likely to get derailed by other activities. A good morning routine helps kids know when it’s time to eat breakfast, comb their hair, brush their teeth, and get dressed. A good after-school routine teaches kids how to divide their time between chores, homework, and fun activities. And a consistent bedtime routine will help kids settle down and fall asleep faster.
- Explain the reason behind your rules: When it comes to helping kids learn how to make healthy choices, an authoritative approach is best because it helps kids understand the reasons for the rules. Instead of saying, “Do your homework now because I said so,” explain the underlying reason for the rule. (this applies to practice in martial arts as well). Say, “It’s a good choice to do your homework (or EMA form) first and then have free time later, as a reward for getting your work done.” This helps your child to understand the underlying reasons for your rules. Instead of saying, “My mom said I have to do this,” your child will understand the rules serve a purpose. Of course, you don’t want to launch into lengthy lectures that will bore your child. But a quick explanation about why you think certain choices are important can help your child understand choices better.
- Give Consequences: Sometimes, natural consequences can teach some of life’s greatest lessons. A child who constantly forgets to grab their jacket as they run out the door won’t learn if a parent always delivers their jacket to the school. Facing the natural consequences of their behavior (like feeling cold at recess) might help them remember to get their coat next time.
- Praise Good Behaviour: Provide positive attention and praise whenever your child demonstrates self-discipline. Point out the good behavior you want to see more often. For example, instead of saying, “Good job not hitting your brother when you were mad,” say, “Good job using your words to solve the problem “Sometimes good behavior goes unnoticed. Giving kids praise for making good choices increases the likelihood that they’ll repeat that behavior. Provide praise when kids do things without requiring reminders. Say, “Great job lining up for class before I even told you to!” or “I’m so proud that you chose to practice your form before class” Even saying, “Great job putting the focus pads away before I asked,” can encourage a repeat performance.
- Model Self-Discipline: Kids learn best by watching adults. If your child (or students)sees you procrastinating or choosing to play on your phone between classes, they’ll pick up on your habits. Make it a priority to model self-discipline. Pay attention to areas where you might struggle with discipline. Perhaps you are never seen practicing yourself or lose your temper when you’re angry. Work on those areas and make it clear to your child (or students) that you seek to do better.
- Reward Good Behaviour: A reward system can target specific behavior problems. A preschooler who struggles to stay in their own bed at night may benefit from a sticker chart to motivate them. An older child who struggles to do homework on time and get chores done may benefit from a token economy system. Reward systems should be short-term. Phase them out as your child (or students) begins to gain self-discipline. Keep in mind that there are plenty of rewards that don’t cost money. Use extra privileges, like games to finish class, to motivate your child (or students) to become more responsible.
Week 4 Challenge
Choose something you want to improve upon – long staff, Nunchuks, spear, self- defence and the find the one person in your training center who is known to be the best at this. Ask for the help. They will gladly give you all the help that you need! Don’t be shy. While that person may seem intimidating and focused, all good martial artists will give their time to help others.