Pressing On With 6 & 7 Year Olds
Much like how our martial arts training builds on previous training, perseverance in this age group builds on previous experiences as 4 & 5 year olds
We teach very basic techniques at the 4 & 5 year old level to give these children the technical advantage when they join the White Tigers. Building on the previous age groups experience, we see that developing perseverance at this level means promoting more challenging activities. And while well intended parents like to immerse their children in a variety of activities to see what they are good at, putting them into a challenging activity does more to develop perseverance. I would argue that, at least this age, children need to learn how to not “throw in the towel” as soon as things get tough. Look for experiences that are not necessairily fun but can add to the individual development of the child. I hear parents all the time ask a child, “Did you have fun?”. While the more important question to ask is “Did you learn something new?” and “Did you enjoy the learning experience”. These last two questions create the impression with the child that just because it was challenging it could still be enjoyable. Some of what we teach is difficult to learn, and we want the kids to know that it’s OK to not get it the first time. Once this seed is planted within the child it grows and matures as they age. It can stay with them for a lifetime.
Perseverance in 6 to 7-year-olds can be observed when they continue to persist, despite facing obstacles or setbacks. Below are a few examples:
- Attempting Difficult Tasks: This could involve attempting to ride a bicycle without training wheels, playing a musical instrument, or learning to swim despite initial challenges. At this level we begin teaching forms, which because of the coordinated movements can be challenging for this age group.
- Academics: They might continue to work on a challenging math problem or reading a tough book, even if they struggle at first.
- Cooperation: Playing games that require taking turns, cooperating or following a set of rules demonstrates perseverance as they learn to navigate and follow these requirements. We also begin one step sparring at this level which reinforces the importance of cooperation.
- Emotional Control: They might work on controlling their emotions when they feel frustrated, sad, or angry, which is a form of perseverance. There is an excellent book by Daniel Siegel called No-Drama Discipline. Which I encourage parents to read. Very useful tools for navigating emotions in children.
- Constructing Projects: Whether they’re working on a difficult puzzle, building a complex Lego set, or a craft project, they continue trying until they reach the end goal. If you are brave enough check out the kids projects that are hosted by local Home Depots. I did that with my kids and they still talk about it.
- Responsibility: They persevere in doing chores like making their bed, cleaning their room, or caring for a pet, even if it is tough or they’d rather be doing something else. A childs ability to take on chores is an indicator if and when they may be ready for a pet.
- Developing New Talents: If they have started taking lessons, in say dance or a sport, they’ll keep practicing the steps or skills, even when progress feels slow or they make mistakes. As kids progress through the White Tigers they do develop new talents as they prepare for the Essential Tang Soo Do program.
- Routines and Procedures: They persist in following set routines or procedures in school and at home, such as doing their homework regularly or eating vegetables as part of their meals.
Remember, during this developmental stage, kids are learning how to navigate growing responsibilities and challenges, and it’s important to provide encouragement and constructive feedback as they develop their ability to persevere.
If you choose martial arts training as a way to challenge your child, just be mindful that the training is not always fun and not always easy. We develop skills that last a lifetime and it takes time to for students to learn this. Some that to the training quickly and some require extra time. That’s why we don’t compare students. We just look that them compared to their potential and encourage potential. We suggest parents do the same.