How to Prepare Your Child for Youth Fitness Classes
Getting your kids involved in fitness can bring significant benefits that go way beyond working up a sweat. Children and teens who get regular physical activity build skills, develop greater teamwork ability, and often have greater respect for themselves and those around them.
One smart way to get them on track is through youth fitness classes, which can offer a range of options from martial arts to yoga. To make sure that your child is poised to get the most out of these classes, consider these prep steps:
Talk about what they really like to do
Some activities will appeal to your children more than others. If they love to wrestle around with siblings and friends, then Youth Judo might be the sport to choose. If they feel stressed at school and want something that will help them cope better, maybe Youth Yoga is a better option. Talk about what gets them energized and what they’d like to try.
Create a schedule together
As tempting as it might be to slot classes into the available spaces in your kid’s schedule, it’s often more helpful to sit down with your child and talk about how often he or she would like to go and what days of the week are preferred. This kind of “meeting” creates a deeper investment in going to classes, because the child feels like it’s a choice, not an obligation.
Meet the teacher
Bring your child to the gym to observe a class and arrange to meet with the teacher together. Chat about what to expect during class, including basic elements like where to sit or stand when first coming in and the progression of the class lesson. Having this kind of information helps a child feel less like “the new kid” when the first class comes around. Also, it gives the teacher a chance to meet your child one on one and hear about any challenges or concerns before class begins.
Don’t lock them in
Classes should be fun and allow your child to progress in a specific sport. But not every sport is ideal for every child. Sometimes, it’s better to switch to a different type of class than to try to force a connection. Encourage your child to give a class a certain number of sessions—three or four is usually enough to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t—and let him or her know that if it’s not working, he or she can try something different.
By doing this kind of up-front work, you can prepare your child more effectively for fitness classes—that way, he or she will be excited and engaged when classes start, not anxious about what may be involved. When kids come to class with that kind of attitude, it’s much easier for them to embrace fitness now and into the future.
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