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Why summer martial arts will better children’s fall school performance

June 27, 2016

A small group of children sit patiently at desks facing the front of the classroom.

Summer vacation offers an excellent opportunity for kids to take a break, refresh and recharge for the next school year.

However, there is such a thing as too little mental stimulation during a vacation. Though you definitely want to give children the chance to relax over summer, three months sitting on the couch and watching Netflix isn’t going to do them much good. A little structure over summer break can keep your kids’ brains moving so they come back to school better than they were when they left.

One great way to provide structure while school’s out? Martial arts. Not only will a regular martial arts class help your children stay physically active over break, it will also help hone their concentration skills and give them a positive, productive outlet for their energy. These are skills they can carry with them into the next school year. Here are just a few ways martial arts can help your child do better in school:

Saves them from boredom

Summer is always loads of fun for the first couple of weeks. After that – even if kids are hesitant to admit it – things can get boring. Long, unscheduled days can get old pretty quickly, and by the time July rolls around, many children find themselves in a bit of a summer funk. However, a martial arts class can help build a schedule into summer days and give kids something to put their minds to. Not only will the scheduled practices ensure they have something to do each week, they’ll likely practice on their own. Even a touch of direction can help channel otherwise listless energy and keep kids engaged all summer long.

Promotes physical health

Obviously exercise does great things for your children’s bodies, but what you might not realize is how big of an impact physical health can have on your children’s minds. According to the Journal of Pediatrics, strong motor skills and cardiorespiratory ability are both linked to academic success. This link can be for a myriad of reasons including confidence and productive energy use, but the simplest reason is that unhealthy bodies are distracting, even for children. After all, everyone knows that a headache or general lethargy can make it hard to be productive. When kids are more physically healthy, these factors are less likely to impact their ability to do well in class.

Fosters respect

Martial arts are always practiced with some kind of philosophy in mind, and that philosophy generally includes an element of respect. At face value, this often looks like respect for the instructor, which can carry over to teachers and other positive adult influences. However, martial arts also instill respect for the self. When children study tae kwon​ do or karate, they learn to listen to their body’s cues and trust their judgment. This encourages self-confidence, and shows kids how to follow their gut: a skill they’ll certainly take with them to the classroom.

Encourages hard work

Finally, martial arts require hours of hard work and dedication. Skill doesn’t develop overnight, and this is one type of sport that highlights that in a visible, tangible way. Rank systems and other solid benchmarks show children that they’re getting better and give them a concrete marker that they’ve improved. This may seem like a simple thing, but it shows children that hard work pays off. This is a philosophy they’ll be able to take with them throughout their academic, professional and personal lives. When children learn that practice and dedication can give them solid results, they have a stronger personal incentive to put in that hard work and succeed going forward.