Advice on teaching younger children

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by andyjeffries, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. andyjeffries

    andyjeffries Master of Arts

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    Hi guys,

    I've had a few parents approach me about starting a class for younger kids (4-6) as I only accept 7+ in my children's class (with a couple of exceptions where older siblings are also training). This would be mainly a games/drills-based class as I understand it rather than more strict Taekwondo.

    Does anyone have experience with this age group? Any hints/tips to offer? Any ideas of drills/games that worked for you or places online with ideas you found useful?

    Many thanks.
     
  2. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    In addition to the martial arts side, I would also teach things like bully-prevention and code words. Both of these need some parental participation which can be a big plus in their training.
     
  3. msmitht

    msmitht 2nd Black Belt

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    For this age group you have to make it short, fun and simple. Chances are they have never heard the word "pivot" so unless they are a phenom keep it simple. You can disguise repitition by changing targets or partners but after a while you will lose them. Here is a basic drill/game/drill scenario I use for that age group:
    Start with basic stretch kicks on target(s). Next pull out a practice sword (foam, bamboo shinai, wood short staff) and hold it at their shoulder level (or lower) and have them swing up and over. Switch back to targets and have them do regular axe kicks. To finish the drill set hold a shinai up at chest level and a target on one side. They have to swing over the Shinai and down onto the target. You end with a game to see who can swing up and over the highest.
    That is 5 drills that should take about 3 minutes each.
    Smile, breathe and relax. They want to have fun and follow along but not if you are too strict or a meanie.
    Hope this helps.
     
  4. ralphmcpherson

    ralphmcpherson Senior Master

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    It does depend a lot on the individual child. My daughter started at 5 and I felt it was too young and she did need it be very child friendly with games, drills etc to stay interested. My son on the otherhand, started at 5 and was the complete opposite. My instructor runs a kids class and an adults class, but kids can train at the adults if neccessary and vice versa. My son did not like the kids class, he wanted something more serious and structured and begged me to train at the adults class where he now trains. Even though he was 5 he took his martial arts very seriously (and still does) and the kids class was too childish for him, whereas my daughter struggled in an adult environment at that age. My son wants to do tkd, he doesnt want to be babied and run around playing games as he has watched dad do tkd since he was born and wants to train like dad. My friend who I train with has a similar situation where his son, now 10, started at 5 and always wanted to go to the adults class and when he was put in the childrens class he would lose interest, but his daughter and other son prefer a child friendly environment.
     
  5. Gorilla

    Gorilla Master of Arts

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    My kids never liked training with other kids only serious adults or other like minded folks...they do love teaching kids though! My son has been training for 10 years and my daughter 6 years so they are very serious.
     
  6. ATC

    ATC Senior Master

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    We train the kids with the same stuff we train the teens and adults. The only difference is that there are more Hi-5's and OMG's that was awsome! But other than that the training is the same. You will be surprised what kids can do, even 4 and 5 year olds.
     
  7. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

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    I suggest making it fun for them, whilst still being productive. Theres no need to Teach different stuff. Plus, Kids under 10 are less likely to get into a 1VS1 Encounter. We Adults, I find, are more likely to get into small Altercations. Bullies tend to travel in Groups.
     
  8. jedtx88

    jedtx88 Yellow Belt

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    The answer to "why?" is always horse stance.
     
  9. miguksaram

    miguksaram Master of Arts

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    I teach a 4-5 year old class. The first thing you have to remember is not to treat them like teens or adults. You have to make it fun for them. So being a little goofy helps. Walk them through the exercises until they can get it on their own. I usually start off by pointing at one and saying "Show me a good jumping jack" then going to the next one doing the same thing. Then having them count out 10 of them together.

    Patience is the key. If they make a mistake, over and over and over and over again...you just have to laugh it off and keep correcting them. Eventually they get it. Balance drills are good to do. Have them do 1 front kick, then 2 front kicks without setting their foot down...then 3 and so on up to 10, if they can. Make it a contest each week on who can do the most without losing balance.

    Another fun game to help listening skills is Sabum Says...instead of Simon Says. Also I do what I call animal drills. First is a bunny hop. They stand at attention and then proceed to hop forward to a designated area doing short hops only on the balls of their feet. Then there is a frog jump. They crouch down like a frog and jump forward. I also have them do tiger crawl, bear crawl and crab crawl. Keep fun but keep the chaos to a minimum. If they start to get unruly then you need to call them to attention. While they are in choonbi they stand like statues. They do not move or talk. Every time they are in this position I ask the question what are you supposed to stand like? They answer statues.

    At the end of class take 5 minutes to do a mat talk. Ask them to give you an example of respect, and help them if they do not know. This age group can be a lot of fun so long as you remember they are only children. Good luck!
     
  10. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Be prepared to be used as a cheap baby sitting service. there will always be one who arrives early and leaves late, the parents know you wouldn't abandon them so feel happy about being late picking them up, of course sometimes it's unavoidable but with some it will be a habit. It's not the kids you have to worry about they can be great fun and rewarding to teach, it's the parents!
     
  11. granfire

    granfire Sr. Grandmaster

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    We had the cubs, 3-6 yo.
    3 times a week, 30 minutes (and being out in the middle of nowhere helped to keep the babysitting to a minimum...no time to do anything while munchkin trains)

    keep it simple.
    keep it short
    keep it fun.

    You have to be willing to be goofy - to a point.
    Run a fast paced ship, don't repeat too much.

    Points stressed were always discipline: answer up when spoken to and follow instructions or sit on the sidelines.

    be flexible. We had one kid that did well in the cubs program, mother begged us to promote him to the regular kids class and all hell broke lose. Would.not.do.a.thing.
    But by then the sitting on the side had been replaced with pushups....looked like a beached flounder....we then replaced that with jumping jacks. Not so easy to mess those up being lazy.

    Anyhow, change directions withing the gym, so what you normally use as 'front' can be the back or side. Black belt is always front! ;)

    Black belt says (AKA Simon Says) is a good game to sharpen their listening skills. And when there was time, a riveting game of dodge ball rounded out the class.

    As far as SD skills, the 'Stop Stranger, don't touch me' I would rate as marginal. I think - it's been a while since I did cubs - there was an escape from a grab, but honestly, at under 6, most kids are 40 pounds soaking wet. What are they going to do when somebody grabs them - except scream!

    Other skills were how to introduce yourself to a new class mate, learn parent's names and the home address. Of course, when you don't have the access to the files...how can you check if it's correct?! :lol:

    Also, there was an increase of difficulty in the techniques taught, stances, kicks, blocks strikes. By the time they graduated into the regular whitebelt class they had to perform the whole (I think) Chung Ji hyong. (then suffer through it for 2 more month til yellow belt...)

    I found that there is a huge difference between the groups from the cubs (3-6) to the juniors (6-10) and what the organization called 'super juniors', 10-14 (from 14 on they went to the adult class and you really never could tell they were 'only' 14. The odd large sized 13 year old would be bumped up as well)
     
  12. andyjeffries

    andyjeffries Master of Arts

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    I'm planning to have a strict policy on that. I can't afford to be looking after kids after the session, I will be running it before my regular class...

    Cheers,


    Andy
     
  13. miguksaram

    miguksaram Master of Arts

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    I would make it requirement for the parents to be there during this particular class. That way you will not run into this situation.
     
  14. RobinTKD

    RobinTKD Blue Belt

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    Just try and keep it fun, we warm up with a quick game of football (with a small soft ball rather than a full size or leather one) first which gets the kids well geared up, and it's also useful as a bargaining tool if they don't behave, you tell them that they have to sit out the football next week. In terms of technique, don't worry about power, only teach them speed and control, power should come later (about 7+ depending on the physiological and mental maturity of the practitioner). also teaching them basic moving skills helps, like jumping exercises and running exercises to help them get used to how their body moves.

    I hope this doesn't sound condescending.
     
  15. andyjeffries

    andyjeffries Master of Arts

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    Not at all mate, grateful for any hints, tips and advice. Thank you.
     
  16. RobinTKD

    RobinTKD Blue Belt

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    I'm glad, you see, at the minute, I only teach young kids of this age, and it is harder than you'd think, believe me, but they'll pick stuff up if they want to. My nephew started when he was 4, he's now a 6 year old green belt, but he can kick like a mule and it all comes from the speed of the snap from his knee.

    I should also point out that balance exercises are probably most important for young kids, you'd be surprised how many will fall flat on their back trying to execute a front or side kick.
     
  17. mastercole

    mastercole Master Black Belt

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    If one is going to teach children, I think the goal should be to become trained in the most modern and cutting adolescent teaching methods developed by top educators ----- in the field or education.

    I believe that most martial arts instructors today are not qualified to teach children, and possibly adults.
     
  18. granfire

    granfire Sr. Grandmaster

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    Ah, yes, balance drills. Together with standing still for 30 seconds, a rare down time in the class. Not to mention the fun watching the parent's jaw drop when they see their whirlwind kid do that for the first time! :)

    LOL, yeah I hear that some 'instructors' should not be let near a pet rock...123
     

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