3 Skills Every Child Needs Before Age 10

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Parents often come to us looking for help in a variety of ways. Parents may want their child to do martial arts to

  • improve their self-esteem
  • build self control
  • get them away from the tablet/video games
  • learn self defense
  • make friends
  • improve their listening
  • HAVE FUN!

And martial arts classes can do all that and more! I was speaking with a parent recently on what I feel are the 3 FUNDAMENTAL things ALL kids under 10 should learn and experience. Let call em Master Ls Must Learns….

1- Learn to Swim

Swimming is Essential for Kids

The benefits of swimming are endless, and your child should learn to swim as early as possible. Here’s why:

It’s essential to safety.

According to the National Safe Kids Campaign, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death to children ages one through 14. It is absolutely crucial that all kids know how to swim at a young age. There is more water than land on this beautiful planet of ours and your child will absolutely encounter a large body of water at some point. Making sure that your child is comfortable in and around water is essential to their safety. A 2009 study found kids ages 1 to 4 who had taken swimming lessons showed a reduced risk of drowning by 88 percent. As comedian Demetri Martin said-  “Sometimes you do it for fun, but then other times you do it to not die.”

It builds their confidence and self-esteem.

Learning to swim, just like self defense and biking builds self confidence and self esteem. Being able to swim is an achievement kids hold in high regard, and once they learn they tend to challenge themselves to swim farther, faster, longer and more. Take a child that can swim to a pool on a hot day and you’ll be amazed at how long they can play and enjoy being in the water.

It opens the door to other great sports and activities.

A child that know how to swim can enjoy all sort of water related activites with confidence. Things like:

  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Boating
  • Tubing
  • Fishing
  • Snorkeling
  • Diving
  • and MORE!

Swimming makes kids SMARTER!

A study from the Griffith Institute of Educational Research in Australia found children who learned to swim at a young age have more advanced physical and cognitive abilities. Research revealed 3-to 5-year-olds who took swimming lessons scored higher in mathematics, reading, oral expression, story recall, visual motor skills (cutting paper and drawing shapes and lines), and understanding directions. In some instances, children who participated in swim lessons were 20 months ahead of those who had not participated in swim lessons.

Swimming is an incredible workout.

The sport involves moving multiple muscle groups in a high-intensity, cardio workout. All four strokes involve working different muscle groups. Often times, children and adults take up swimming for weight loss. Swimming burns calories quickly, and is easier for overweight people to pick up because it’s low-impact. According to Bucknell, swimming offers 12 to 14 percent more resistance training than life on land- offering an exceptionally challenging workout.

Does you child have so much energy they remind you a squirrel on redbull sometimes? Swimming is an excellent way to get that energy out, while they improve their physical fitness. Once he or she learns to swim, they may hop in a pool at any point in their life to get a low-risk, high-intensity workout.


You can swim for the rest of your life.

If your child knows how to swim at a young age, this skill is forever with them. In their later years, their longevity and quality of life will be enhanced by swimming.

It’s essential that every child learn to swim to be water-safe. But there are so many levels of swimming and benefits that come along the way. Introduce your child to swimming early on so that they have the skill for their whole life. This can help improve their overall physical and mental health. Hopefully, they will fall in love with the sport and lap it up for years.

2- Ride a Bike

Every child by age 10 should learn to ride a bike on 2 wheels! Many children will learn at pre-school ages 4-6. If your child is over age 6 dont fret, or give yourself any guilt, get a bike and get started!

6 Benefits of bike riding:

1. It’s simple fun

It’s the simple things in life that can be the most rewarding. Learning to ride a bike is one of them. Once your child has learned to ride, cycling is a fun and free activity that they can enjoy with friends and family for life. As President John F Kennedy famously said, “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.”

2. It keeps kids physically active

Children should engage in at least one hour of vigorous physical activity every day to stay healthy. However, many children aren’t meeting these guidelines. Encouraging your child to ride a bike while they’re young helps to establish healthy exercise habits that are likely to stay with them for life.

3. It benefits kids’ mental health and learning

Riding a bike not only improves physical fitness, it improves core strength and balance, it also benefits your child’s learning development and mental health. Regular physical activity has been linked to increased happiness, as well as giving kids more opportunities to make social connections.

4. It’s something the whole family can enjoy together

Cycling is an activity all ages can enjoy. Parents, kids, and even grandparents can take part in a family bike ride. It’s a great way to share some quality time. Remember, the key to family bike rides is to have fun. So start slowly and take plenty of breaks to give little riders time to rest.

5. It is a process kids experience first hand and helps them understand goal setting.

When we talk to kids in the classroom about goal setting we often refer back to bike riding. Kids that know how to ride, know that you cant just jump on a 2 wheel bike and ride off. The process of learning to ride is a point of pride for most kids and they remember the process, of quite well. From getting their first bike, using the training wheels, having them moved up, and eventually off, and for some moving onto their next bike. So many kids in our digital world are being digitally wired to seek instant gratification at their local app store but riding a bike is an experience kids themselves rate as WAY BETTER than any new game they’ve downloaded.

6. It’s boosts their self esteem!

The kids that know how to ride are very proud of their skills. The challenge of riding takes time and dedications to achieve and for many kids its their first memorable achievement that all other kids can relate to! Want to get kids talking ask them about learning to ride their fear, follies, and favorite parts. I guarantee they’ll be happy to talk about it! For a little more help here is a great video from cycling weekly on how to teach bike riding.

3- Self Defense

By age 10 every child should have some level of self defense/ martial arts training. As we grow and develop being able to defend yourself makes you better able to stand up for yourself and what you believe in. It makes them a better person and better citizen whether in the classroom, grocery store or out on the play ground. Kids that are trained in martial arts and self defense are more confident and are less likely to:

  • Bully others
  • Fight with friends
  • Raise their voices to solve conflicts.
  • Succumb to negative peer pressure
  • Follow other kids bad example

Martial arts training can be a life long endeavor, most students who train with us thru to Black Belt tend to embody excellence in all areas, whether at home, school or here in the dojo. The overwhelming majority (over 85%) of kids who achieve black belt are high academic achievers. Martial arts training makes for better, more respectful, confident, and focused kids.

Here are 9 benefits of martial arts classes for kids.

  1. Martial arts focuses on individual growth, not on team competition. Many kids struggle with the pressure of competing with other kids. But in martial arts, the focus is on self-improvement. There’s no “letting down the team.” Each students is graded against the student they were last week, month, year.
  2. We work toward specific goals. Some kids feel like they never “win” at anything. In martial arts, kids work at their own pace. Kids earn stripes regularly for attendance and performing the skills taught in class. They also earn different colored belt every time they reach a new skill level. This does wonders for their self-esteem and keeping them motivated.
  3. Routines (katas) are broken down into chunks. A technique or form (kata) in martial arts can have dozens of different movements. But kids learn gradually, repeating and adding steps as they go. This piece by piece approach offers kids a great opportunity to absorb the material and perform well on the days of testing.
  4. We emphasize self-control and concentration. Focus and Listening are core to martial arts. Kids have to stay focused to absorb and learn the movements. When a child’s focus drifts, instructors are experts at getting them back in the zone with a variety of techniques.
  5. We help with coordination. Doing martial arts movements can help kids (adults too) get a better feel for their body in space. This is good for kids who struggle with motor skills.
  6. We provide structure.  At the dojo, we have clear rules and constantly reinforce them. We also emphasize good behavior in and out of class.
  7. They’re a safe way for kids to get out extra energy. It’s a myth that martial arts encourage violent behavior. In fact, we often remind kids that fighting is a last resort. At the same time, kicking and karate chopping let kids work out frustration or anger while practicing self-control.
  8. It’s an accepting environment. Respect is a core value in martial arts. Kids have to show it for their instructor and their peers. Negativity is generally not tolerated in class, and students are encouraged to support each other.
  9. They’re cool. Kids who learn and think differently sometimes feel awkward or out of the loop. But lots of kids think martial arts are cool, especially with the recent resurgence of Cobra Kai and other martial arts shows. It’s hard not to feel special when you’re wearing martial arts gear, spinning nunchucks and breaking boards in half!

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