What are the Benefits of Karate for Parents and Families of Children and Adolescents?

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As parents, we have many calls on our personal and family resources, and only so much to go around.  A further consideration is Opportunity Cost – the time and effort we use in one way cannot then be used for some other purpose.  For example, the time we let slip away watching old episodes of “The Love Boat” is forever gone.  We can’t take that time back again and invest it in learning how to make home-baked bread.  Our time, energy, attention and financial resources all have limits.  We want to invest them as wisely and effectively as possible.

As well as being a good fit for your child, Karate has to provide a good fit for you and the rest of your family.  We’ve gone over in detail many of the potential benefits of Karate for your child.  But they remain only potential benefits if your child isn’t able to participate consistently.  This has to fit with your other commitments of your time and energy to other members of your family.  Perhaps even allow all of you a little “down time” now and then.

Karate has to be a doable – and livable – commitment for you and the rest of your family.  Studying and practicing Karate as part of our dojo community has benefits that apply to these concerns – for you as a parent, and for the other members of your family.

1. Professional Instruction:

In our lessons together, you and your child are working with educated, experienced, and carefully trained instructors.  Each of them has gone through a long, demanding apprenticeship to learn the many skills involved.  They’re well-grounded in both the theory and practice of working effectively with children.

Your child’s instructors are also knowledgeable and experienced practitioners of Karate, proficient in its physical skills.  They’ve carefully studied the history and traditions of the discipline.  They’re skilled and experienced teachers.  They’ve also committed to regular continuing education in working effectively with students of different ages and experience levels.

All this is considerably different from the situation we often face as parents with traditional competitive sports for kids.  We’re frequently dealing with a volunteer “parent/coach” – all too often, someone who has stepped in at the last minute when the designated head coach announced they just didn’t have enough time, and quit.  They may have little or no experience with the sport involved, or with teaching children.  Usually, this volunteer “parent/coach” will make their best effort.  But we have no way of knowing whether they’ll be effective in this role or not – we have to trust to luck.

The benefit for you and your family in our Karate lessons is that you’re dealing with experienced instructors of proven competence.

2. 3 Lesson Introductory Course:

This gives you a simple, straightforward way to get started.  During your Introductory Course, you and your child get acquainted with our school, find out what goes on in lessons, and see if we will be a good fit for you and your family.

Our first lesson will be a private lesson, set by appointment.  We’ll go over some of the basics of how a Karate lesson works.  We’ll also get your child started on learning some of the physical skills they’ll need to know to participate in group lessons.

Your child’s next two lessons will be as part of the larger group lessons.  This will give you a good sense for how these are going to work.  This also gives your child the opportunity to meet and work with some of the other students who will be in these lessons with them.

Karate lessons are available to you on an ongoing basis, year-round.  Unlike most competitive sports, you don’t have to wait for the opening of “Karate Season” to get started.  You also won’t be left stuck for something constructive and worthwhile for your child to do once the “season” closes.

You, your child, and the rest of your family benefit in a couple of important ways from your 3 Lesson Introductory Course:

  • The opportunity to try out Karate lessons for yourselves. You’re not asked to commit to enrolling as an ongoing student the first time you walk in the front door.  Let’s get to know each other a bit first, and see if we’re going to be a good fit for each other.
  • It is comparatively easy to get started. Your child doesn’t get frozen out because an emergency came up or you just didn’t get the word and you missed signing up at the beginning of the “season”.  When you are ready to start, we can typically make your appointment for your first lesson in just a week or two.

3. Special Program for Beginners:

After your child’s 3 Lesson Introductory Course, they should be eligible to enroll as an ongoing student in our Fundamentals Course.  This course is a program designed especially for beginners.

Your child will be taking lessons with other beginning students close to their own size and age.  As we work together in the Fundamentals Course, we going to focus on laying down a solid foundation of basic, strong, reliable Karate skills.  Over several months of lessons, we’ll gradually extend and strengthen these fundamental skills.  Your child builds on this solid foundation as they become more experienced and proficient.

You, your child, and the rest of your family benefit in several ways from your Fundamentals Course:

  • Fundamentals is designed for complete beginners. Your child doesn’t need to have a pre-existing skill set or to be a great natural athlete to get started.  We’ll meet you where you are, and work from there.
  • Your child will be working with other beginners close to their own size and age. They’re not trying to keep up with students who are much older, or larger, or more experienced than they are.
  • As your child learns and develops their solid foundation of fundamental Karate skills, they’ll get several months of experience as a Karate student. Participating in the Fundamentals Course provides all of you with a better understanding of what is involved in studying and practicing Karate.  At the end of the Fundamentals Course, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about committing to the long-term goal of earning your Black Belt.

4. Flexible Lesson Schedule:

As parents, we have many commitments to meet – every day, every week.  We and our families are increasingly tightly scheduled.  We’re working to meet urgent work, school and extra-curricular commitments.  Creating and sustaining a workable personal and family schedule is an ongoing challenge.

This is especially true for those of us who may be single parents, or parents of multiple children.  When something unexpected happens – the car has a flat tire, or the dog gets sprayed by a skunk – this can easily derail all the careful arrangements we’ve made for that day.  Perhaps even the next few days.

When your child is participating in a competitive sport, you and your family can find yourselves involved in a set of indefinite, open-ended commitments.  Practice times and games are sometimes scheduled on an “ad hoc” basis from week to week.  This is especially true if you’re involved in some sort of outdoor sport, such as soccer.  Practices and games get rained out and have to be rescheduled.  Playoffs at the end of the season extend it for several more unplanned sessions, depending both on the weather and which team wins and which loses.  This can all raise havoc with the rest of your schedule, and potentially prevent you from keeping other commitments.

By contrast, our Fundamentals Course offers you a regular, predictable lesson schedule every week.  Your child should attend two lessons each week to advance properly in learning their skills.  You have a choice of lesson times available to you during the week – some earlier in the afternoon, some later in the evening.  Should your child have to miss one of their regular lessons, we have a special “Make Up” available on Sunday afternoon.

You, your child, and the rest of your family benefit from this combination of a stable, predictable lesson schedule with the flexibility of alternative lesson times as follows:

  • You have a clear, limited commitment of 2 lessons a week. You can certainly come more often if you wish, and your schedule permits.
  • You have several different lesson times available to you throughout the week – some earlier in the afternoon, some later in the evening. You have planning options available to help you work Karate lessons in as part of your existing schedule.
  • If something unexpected comes up – a tire goes flat, or your child is ill – you have workable options available to you. You have alternate lesson times, as well as the “Make Up” session on Sunday afternoon.

5. Predictable, Budgetable Cost:

Your child’s tuition is a regular, set monthly fee.  We’ll set up a secure online Tuition Management Account for you, that you can access directly.  You’ll be able to select the day during the month that works best for you to make your tuition payment.  You’ll also be able to select your preferred payment method.

The costs for your child’s Karate instruction are clear for you up front.  That single monthly tuition payment covers all foreseeable expenses associated with your child’s instruction.  You won’t be dealing with a lot of unexpected “add-on” fees for this, that and the other thing.

This is different from other organized activities for your kids, particularly as they get into early-to-mid adolescence.  Say that your child becomes involved in band or a competitive swimming team. The ultimate costs of participation aren’t always clear right away.  There are frequently requirements for parents and families to “volunteer” substantial amounts their time for fundraisers and other support roles.  There can be major travel commitments for competition events (band is astonishingly competitive).  Both the money costs and your time costs can easily escalate far beyond what you had predicted – and had budgeted for.

You, your child, and the rest of your family benefit in the following ways:

  • Single, set monthly tuition payment for your child’s instruction. No-one is going to make you peddle “Karate Kandy” as a condition for your child participating in our lessons together.
  • You select the day of the month that works best for you to make your tuition payment. You also select your preferred payment method.

6. Shared Experience:

The study and practice of Karate is an experience you can share with your child in a couple of different ways.  You can share this by watching your child take part in lessons.  You can also potentially share this experience on a deeper level by becoming a Karate student yourself.  Both have real value for your child, for you, and for the rest of your family.  You are welcome to do either or both of these.  Ultimately, you will find that your child will value this experience to the extent they understand and believe that you do, as well.

When you choose to watch your child, we have a special area set aside for you at our school where you can sit and observe their lesson in progress.  You’re always welcome to watch your child’s lessons, and I encourage you to do so whenever possible.  Setting aside the time to observe your child participating in their lessons is one way of demonstrating that you value their accomplishments in Karate.  You’re there and you care.

The one situation where this can change a bit is when your child is an adolescent.  Our adolescent children are in the process of redefining their relationship with us as their parents.  You may find that your adolescent prefers that you don’t watch absolutely every lesson.  Try to discuss this with them, and use your good judgement in the matter.  I would strongly recommend that you still “drop in” every so often and observe them in class, even if you’ve both decided that you won’t be watching every lesson.

As I mentioned previously, you can also share this experience with your child by becoming a student yourself.  It may be that you’ve never considered taking up the study and practice of Karate yourself.  Possibly you’ve played with the idea from time to time, thinking that it would be fun and interesting to do when you have the chance.   This can be the chance you’ve been looking for.  I urge you to give this some careful thought now.

Some points to consider regarding becoming a student yourself:

  • Before deciding to become a Karate student yourself, be sure that you’re prepared to stick with this. If you take up Karate only to drop it in a few months, your child will do so as well.  So do take the time to carefully think this commitment through.
  • You won’t be taking lessons together with your child, unless they happen to be a teenager or older. However, you’ll be learning many of the same skills as your child, and facing many of the same challenges. This will allow you to work together outside of class times, if you would like.
  • Consider letting your child start Karate lessons first and get a few months “head start” on you before you begin. This way, you’re not having to act as your child’s coach or tutor at home.  Instead, they can help coach you on skills you are just starting to learn, and that they already know.  They get to be your helper.  You may also find that a skill that looks simple and easy from the sidelines can be unexpectedly challenging in actual practice.

The underlying benefit for you, your child, and your family is that Karate is an experience that you can share in together.

To find out more about getting started as a student at Broadway Family Karate, please follow this link:  3 Lesson Introductory Course.

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© T.R. Booker 2020


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