With so Many Activities Available to Kids, Should They Try as Many as Possible?
With so many activities competing for families’ time these days, there are parents who want their children to try as many activities as possible, so their kids don’t miss out on opportunities to have fun and build fond memories. There are only so many hours in the day, though, and even parents with the best intentions can’t make it possible for children to try every activity out there. So, the question becomes, how should parents pick activities for their children?
Another question can help us get closer to the answer: What do parents want their children to get out of activities? As I’ve worked with families over the years, parents have told me, “Well, I want my kid to have fun.” Fun is important; there’s no question about that. However, there are ways to have fun that help a child develop, and there are ways to have fun that don’t.
Playing videogames, for example, can be fun and is fine in moderation, but it doesn’t develop children like swimming lessons do, for instance. Aside from developing physical fitness as part of a healthy lifestyle, swimming lessons teach a valuable skill, one that can actually save a child’s life. Now, this doesn’t mean that a child needs to swim competitively or for many years; however, it’s an example of when fun is of secondary importance. A good swim coach will make swimming fun, but if for some reason a child still doesn’t enjoy swimming, that doesn’t change how important what the activity can do for the child is. So, while videogames are easy fun, the developmental value of swimming lessons is greater and arguably more deserving of a family’s time.
This differentiation is important, because, as we’ve been discussing, not all activities are of equal value. In the previous example, we compared videogames and swimming lessons, but what if we compared videogames and school? Both are considered activities by definition, but school obviously does more to develop a child.
At Family Black Belt Academy, we strive to provide that same kind of differentiated value in a fun environment. Our curriculum emphasizes physical development, both in terms of overall athleticism and the practical skill of self-defense; behavioral development; and the development of strong character. Just as swimming lessons don’t only apply to swimming in a particular pool, students carry the skills and values they learn through martial arts with them everywhere they go. They listen better at home, are more focused in school, and are confident among their peers. Like school, martial arts, when taught correctly, is not just another activity. It’s a course of education that prepares students to lead successful, fulfilling lives.