Having difficulty keeping childrens’ attention in your martial arts classes? Do they seem unmotivated and disinterested? Are the parents frustrated because they have a big fight to get the kids there every time? Well, here’s how to lift your game and keep them coming back for more.
Make it Fun
Overly repetitive activities are boring for kids, but if you make a game out of it, they will love it. Instead of having them stand there throwing their blocks into the air, make them avoid the attacks using the appropriate blocks against the padded blockers as you walk by. Even better, have them sit down if they get hit. Last one (or last few better still) wins.
Keep it Simple
Use simple instruction, both in visual and audio demonstration, and break it down into steps. Breaking things into small chunks helps kids understand each step before they move to the next.
Use Kid-friendly Language
You will lose them the second you start trying to explain something in “adult speak”. Do not say “Bring your knee up at a 45 degree angle, and then extend it directly toward your target”. Instead say “Bring your knee up as high as you can and snap it out at the target”.
Keep Talking to a Minimum
Just show them how to do it and move on. Kids don’t like to listen, they like to do. Fact of life.
Praise Outstanding Efforts
Say “Look how hard Jasmine is snapping out those punches”, and then watch as the rest of the class will try to match her efforts. Effort is more important than skill, as not everyone is naturally gifted in martial arts classes. But they can all try harder.
Everyone does at least one thing well. Your job is to catch them doing it, then publicly recognise them. This will do wonders to help the kids with less skill or ability to stay engaged, and will also improve their self-esteem.
Here is more information on How to Motivate Children in Martial Arts
What strategies to you use to gain and keep attention with children in your martial arts classes?