So Your Kid Doesn't Want to Come to Karate Anymore?
It's practically 2020, we get it. Your kids are inundated with electronics: iPads and phones, smart devices, video game systems, and YouTube videos that literally never end. It's everywhere, all the time, and it's nearly impossible to keep them away from it, so what do you do?
"He really loves karate once he gets there, but it's getting harder and harder to get him there."
"She enjoys class and being with her friends but started telling us she doesn't want to go."
"He doesn't want to get off his iPad so it's a constant battle to get him motivated for class."
We hear this from parents fairly often. Heck, we are parents ourselves so we see it at home, too! When a child starts a new sport, it's exciting and new and fresh and fun. And then the work starts. The focus is required. The physical exertion. The practice at home. The commitment to coming to class. The newness wears off and it might even start to feel like a chore. After all, nothing we will ever earn comes without sacrifice. Right?
And maybe you are kinda tired, too. You might work all day, pick up the kids just in time to whip up a meal before starting in on homework, music lessons, volleyball, math club, laundry, all of the things that we know are pulling you in all sorts of directions. It might be easy to let them skip karate one night, and then two. And then two could become 6 and 6 could be a month and before you know it, everyone has lost all motivation and it's easier to just quit altogether.
So I implore you to ask yourself WHY your kid doesn't want to go to karate, soccer, piano lessons, or whatever they (and you) committed to when it was new and exciting? Really get to the bottom of it and don't make excuses based on your busy schedule or your pocketbook.
Is your child having difficulty getting motivated because they don't want to get off of their electronic devices? Pay close attention to what they are doing both before and during the time that they start complaining that they don't "like" their sport or activity of choice anymore.
And here's a challenge: 1 hour before their class, remove all electronics. No Ipad, no Netflix, no Nintendo whatever- completely cut them off. Maybe even say no devices until after class altogether.
Take this time to have them work on their homework or help you set the table for dinner. Create an after school chore chart or play a family game. Encourage them to use their brains and find something productive to do with their time. We think you will see an immediate change in your children and that suddenly keeping up with their commitments and physical activities won't seem so bad.
Child 1: comes home from school and plays Minecraft for the 2 hours leading up to class. Doesn't want to go and starts whining, pleading, negotiating, and chips away against your exhaustion to convince you to let him skip. He loves it once he's there but would rather stay on the couch interacting mindlessly with friends because it's easy.
Child 2: comes home from school and works on homework and then helps clean up after dinner before playing a game with their sibling. Knows there are no electronics until after class so gladly gets dressed and looks forward to seeing her friends and has no reason to cause a scene because they aren't in lazy video game mode and are ready to be active physically and mentally.
When your child gets bored with a physical activity that you know they love, ask yourself what else they achieve by going there? What is it worth to you? What is it worth to them? Are they learning valuable life lessons such as respect, courtesy, focus, discipline, teamwork, accountability, and more? Think of what they- and you- will lose by letting them quit.
Sure, letting them play video games mindlessly for a few hours so you can get some things done around the house is easy. But what did easy ever get you?
Teach your children about commitment and the value of hard work. Remind them all of the ways that karate has helped them and encourage them to keep going.
And lastly, please don't be afraid to tell your sensei, coach, teacher, or instructor about what's going on if your child has shown a sudden change in motivation or mood. We are here to help and want to know what's going on in the lives of our students so that we can better help them to meet their goals and be the best that they can be. And we can't do that without commitment from you both.
Try our challenge and let us know what you find.
Visit our site to see what karate can do for you and your family at https://www.communitykaratecenter.com/