Anxiety in children has become more of an issue in recent times. Whether it’s because of an increase in awareness in mental health or things have changed in modern times we are now more likely to hear of a 10 year old being diagnosed with “anxiety”.
To me we all have some level of anxiety – it is a natural part of the human experience. However there are different degrees of anxiety, and what I do is help kids reduce their anxiety with my kid’s martial arts classes. I have seen kids walk in the door timid, shy and sad looking to being a confident, vibrant and overall great kid who is happy in their own skin after only a matter of months.
Here are the top 5 reasons why I believe martial arts reduces anxiety in kids:
- Physical exercise – we all know that physical exercise and activity makes us feel good. There is so much research out there now that proves scientifically physical exercise increases mood, releases endorphins and makes us feel good. It’s the same for our kids no matter what age they are.
- Meditation – a great martial arts class will have some time dedicated to meditation. I personally start and finish my classes with a 1 minute meditation to calm and centre the kids. This component alone helps kids get out of their heads and back into their bodies and I have had many parents tell me the difference they have seen in a reduction in their child’s anxiety just from a few minutes. Meditation reduces brain chatter, and helps kids calm and centre themselves.
- Routine and structure – martial arts as an art form is based on discipline and structure. And kids all thrive in routine and structure. When a kid turns up to my class and knows what’s coming up next – the class starting on time, they bow in to class, then start with meditation they feel safe and secure in their routine. If they can have one time in their life that they can predict and feel safe and secure in this they will really thrive. Heck I know how crazy life gets at times, trying to keep routine at home with so much going on but I like to create a safe and secure space for the kids where they feel welcomed and secure.
- Self-confidence – kids thrive on what they learn in a martial arts class. They are taught physical skills, boundaries for interactions with others and learn how to defend themselves. For a 10 year old boy what else could build his confidence than knowing he can deal with conflict? This can be the verbal skills not just physical. I teach my students how to diffuse a situation before it escalates into something they feel they can’t deal with by teaching them how to be assertive. We also use a grading system so kids are rewarded for their efforts.
- Positive behavioural management – kids have a really tough gig sometimes. They have hormonal changes, they are learning at such a rapid rate, they still don’t have all the skills they require to deal with situations around them and then their teacher is having a bad day and yells at them for something minor. Of course this will make them feel unstable and anxious at times. That’s why I like to use positive behavioural management in all my classes and any good martial arts instructor will do this. Gone are the days in a martial arts class where the kids are screamed at. I like to create a space where the kids are rewarded and feel motivated to do the right thing.
These are just some of the reasons why martial arts will help to reduce anxiety in your child. But it’s important to find the right instructor and school that is a good fit for your child and that incorporates a lot of these principles.
To book a free class in our Krav Kids Self Defence Program book here https://www.kravmaganorthernbeaches.com.au/krav-maga-kids/.