One of the biggest concerns from parents during the back-to-school season is bullying. Some 160,000 kids skip school every day because they fear of being attacked or ridiculed by bullies. The good news is that these disturbing statistics can be limited with the proper education.
As martial artist that has worked with hundreds of children on anti-bullying strategies, I have found that the most important skill a child should have when dealing with bullies is confidence. No matter what you teach a child, it will not be effective without the confidence to put the lessons into action. Children that fall victim to bullies usually are targets because they lack the confidence to stand up for themselves. Therefore, it is very important that you begin instilling confidence within your child if you want him or her to effectively handle bullying.
Here are a few tips on how you can build confidence within your child:
Make sure that you are a good listener when talking with your child. Try not to ignore your child’s feelings. Children are more confident when they feel like they are being heard. If you, as a parent, take the time to listen to your child then he or she will have more confidence to speak their mind when dealing with bullies.
Pay attention to your child’s moods. If your child is grumpy or agitated, then most-likely he or she can act the same way around other children. That can increase the chance of your child falling victim to unnecessary arguments and fights with others. Factors that can affect your child’s mood include:
· Lack of proper sleep each night. Children need at least 8 hours of total sleep per night. If they are not getting the proper amount of rest, then it can affect their mood the next day.
· Insufficient diet. Certain foods affect children’s moods including foods that are high in sugar, caffeine or fat. Keep your child’s diet balanced with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
· Lack of exercise. Children that do not exercise regularly tend to have a lower level of energy which will affect his or her mood. This can also lead to obesity which makes your child more prone to bullying.
Keep your child active in extra-curricular sports and activities, such as Martial Arts. Your child will make plenty of new friends and learn skills which can build confidence. Make sure the activities are healthy and are focused on character development. Also, make sure the teachers and coaches are experts at working with children and building confidence. If you pick the right activity, then you will notice a change in your child’s confidence almost immediately.
Is your child a confident individual? If so, then the next step is to speak with your child about anti-bullying
Here are five strategies that you should review with your child:
1. Assert yourself. Have your child practice standing tall and using a strong voice saying: “That’s teasing. Stop it.” or “Stop making fun of me. It’s mean.”
2. Use “I want.” Role-play with your child by having him or her address you (the bully) by saying: “I want you to leave me alone,” or “I want you to stop teasing me.”
3. Question it. Have your child practice responding to an insult with a non-defensive question: “Why would you say that?” or “Why would you want to tell me I am dumb and hurt my feelings?”
4. Ignore it. Bullies love it when their teasing upsets their victims, so help your child find a way to not let his or her tormentor get to him/ her. Pretend they’re invisible, walk away without looking at them, quickly look at something else and laugh, or look completely uninterested.
5. Make Fun of the Teasing. Teach your child how to reply to bullies by saying something like: “Wow, you are so smart because you pick on other kids.” Or, “Did you think of that all on your own?”
Remember, the key to dealing with bullies is all about how confident your child feels. The strategies above only work if your child is confident enough to say them. Role-playing is only half of the lesson. You child must be exposed to enough role-models and equipped with the proper amount of stimulants that increase confidence.
Summertime is coming to an end, and with that comes all of the back to school anxiety and jitters that are common amongst children. Your child may experience common physical effects of anxiety associated with back to school time including symptoms from stomach aches to sleeping problems. They will also experience emotional stress from the fear of making new friends, meeting new teachers, fears of being bullied, pressure of making good grades, and worries of being unpopular. With that said, it important for parents to first remember that these physical and emotional feelings are very common, and even the most well-adjusted kids are bound to feel some sort of pressure when they return to school.
The question becomes: what can parents do to help their children cope with the physical and emotional stresses associated with the back to school season? In this article, I will provide you with some tips that I’ve shared with parents in the past that have deemed to be very helpful.
Tip #1: Put your child on a healthy sleeping pattern right away!
Children need at least 8 to 10 hours of REM sleep each night. Children that do not get adequate sleep the night before tend to be groggy, grumpy, and thus have a harder time concentrating in class, not to mention tend to become more sensitive to social disputes. Sleep also contributes to a healthier immune system. You can help your child enter each school day with a more energetic and positive approach simply by making sure they get the right amount of sleep each night.
Here’s how to set a healthy sleeping pattern with your children:
Set up some rules for 1 hour prior to bed time. There are many things that can affect how well your children sleep at night. If you set up some ground rules, then you’ll see better sleeping habits: Make sure they eat dinner no later than 1 hour prior to bed time. If they eat just before bed time, then chances are they will not fall asleep right away. Your child can have a warm glass of milk or some fruit just before bed if they are hungry. Cut out all physical activities no later than 1 hour prior to bedtime. Children need adequate downtime to get their heart rate down. Cut out any intense stimulating activities no later than 1 hour prior to bedtime. This includes video games and computers. Both can be very addictive and keep your child’s mind over-stimulated even after they’ve stopped.
Tip #2: Put your child on a brain-strengthening diet
Not all diets are for weight loss. Even children that have great athletic physiques are susceptible to the after-effects of poor eating habits, including fatigue, anxiety, poor concentration, and mood swings. You can help your child feel better each school day simply by adjusting their diet and getting rid of foods and snacks that are counter-productive.
Here are some healthy eating tips:
Create a healthy menu. Sit down with your child and create a breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack menu together. Create at least three different healthy meals for breakfast, lunch, and snack time and allow them to choose what they want to eat each day. If your children help with the process, they will be more intrinsically motivated to stick with the diet. You can make it fun by having them design a fun menu with their meal options and also have them go to the grocery store and help pick out all of the ingredients. If you are struggling with how to create a proper diet, do some research or speak with a licensed dietician that can help make a list of heart and brain-healthy foods.
Tip #3: Make sure your child feels comfortable communicating with you
Communication is crucial when it comes to all of the challenges your child will face each day at school. It is important for your child to feel comfortable speaking with you about bullies, fears, and anxieties. You can turn any challenge around if you set it up right. Here are some important tips for helping your child feel comfortable about communication:
Ask them about their day to keep an open dialog. Sometimes children hold back sharing their fears and anxieties simply because they don’t want to bother you. By asking them how their day was and if there was anything they wanted to talk about, you are showing them you care.
Tip #4: Continually seek opportunities that increase your child’s self-confidence
The very best thing you can equip your child with is self-confidence. There is absolutely no substitute for self-confidence. Let me repeat that because this line is very important: There is absolutely NO substitute for self-confidence! Confident children face every day with a positive outlook and tend to have better grades, more friends, and less stress.
Here are some tips for increasing your child’s self-confidence:
Find positive role models. Coaches, tutors, and babysitters can have a positive influence on your child’s life. In fact, many children will listen or open up to their role models more so than they do to you because they feel a special bond between them. This is not a bad thing! Think about the special people that you confide in. I bet you have special people besides your parents that have helped shape your life. Don’t be afraid to cut the cord and let your children seek inspiration from other people that you know are great role models for them.
Reflect back to when you were a child and think of how you would have parented yourself. What would you do differently than your parents? What would you do the same? Life is a mystery and an adventure. Both good and bad experiences are part of life and can help you understand your children a little better. Keep this article somewhere special and read it when you feel like you need a little parenting boost. Hopefully one day you’ll share these tips with your child as they enter adulthood and become parents too.
The New Year is here, and with thousands of goals and resolutions in sight as well, 2017 is the year you should try something new!
Martial arts is an established system that can better the entirety of your being.
Whether you need mental benefits like furthering your discipline, muscle, physical benefits like getting in shape, or maybe you’re just looking to make some new friends; martial arts is for you.
3 Martial Arts Benefits
The most common New Year’s resolution you will hear is to get in better shape. The physical benefits from martial arts are obvious. Martial arts will get you in shape in a way you find fun. Your body gets more comfortable with itself, so you have better control over your physical abilities as well.
Needless to say, arming yourself with the self-defense tactics from martial arts makes you better equipped to deal with some of the more dangerous physical obstacles in life. Really, martial arts is more than just physical improvement.
Looking for more discipline, focus, and awareness?
There are several martial arts benefits, but the greatest is the mental toughness.
Martial arts helps connect your mind with your brain. It helps your mind gain the necessary control it needs to do this. It helps you find comfort in stressful situations. Maybe you want to be more adventurous, less scared of the world, or more adjusted to your own body?
It’s more than just kicking and punching. The spiritual benefits are plenty. There has always been a strong connection between the Zen world and martial arts. This mental improvement can help you deal with your anxiety, your depression, and any other negative mental stressor that is plaguing your day to day.
The social benefits of martial arts are often overlooked.
Maybe you’ve gotten in with the wrong crowd, and have decided that you need to add fresh faces to your life. Maybe you just need some new friends.
The martial arts community is one of the friendliest, most supportive, and inspiring groups of people you will ever find. It’s a great place to make lifelong friends and relationships.
You will find that the martial arts world is fascinating on its own, and that you could spend a whole lifetime indulging in some of its pleasantries.
You will get addicted to the lifestyle and your new friends will be able to empathize.
Why just pick one New Year’s resolution this year when you can be a part of something that covers so much more than just one improvement?
This new year, you could be smarter, healthier, calmer, and happier.
Thanksgiving is this coming Thursday. While many Americans look forward to Thanksgiving Day as an opportunity to eat whatever they want without counting calories, it’s important not to lose sight of fitness – even as you face down a plate of turkey with all the fixings. Here are some ideas to help you enjoy your Thanksgiving while also being true to your fitness and exercise goals.
Exercise Leading up to Thanksgiving
The first thing you can do to ensure that Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t mean the end of fitness is not to neglect your normal exercise routine in the days leading up to the holiday. If you normally hit your martial arts school or gym for an hour-long workout, make sure to do it. The exercise will ensure that your metabolism is revved up and that you’re ready to burn off the food you eat on Thanksgiving.
Fitness on Thanksgiving Day
Your regular martial arts schools or gym might be closed on Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t mean you should take the day off from exercise. There are plenty of things you can do to make sure that you stay fit and healthy. For example:
1. Eat a healthy, protein-rich breakfast. You might think that it makes sense to hoard calories for the Thanksgiving meal, but the truth is that if you eat a good breakfast you’ll be less likely to binge later in the day. Try having scrambled eggs or whole grain cereal with milk as a way of ensuring your stomach isn’t grumbling all day.
2. Take a long walk or go for a run in the morning. The benefit of getting some kind of exercise early in the day is that it will burn some calories and prevent you from feeling sluggish. It will also get you out of the house and away from high-calorie snacks that might be available. If you have an at-home gym or weight room, or if the weather is bad, you can get your exercise at home.
3. When mealtime arrives, be smart about what you eat. You don’t need to have triple servings at Thanksgiving to be satisfied. If there are very rich dishes on the table, have just a spoonful so you can taste them without going overboard.
4. Take another walk after dinner. You don’t have to go right away, but if you get outside and get moving after the big meal, your body will burn some of the calories you’ve taken in. You can even make the walk a family affair and get everybody some much needed exercise. The key is not to let Thanksgiving be an excuse for throwing away your usual fitness goals.
The Day after Thanksgiving
Just as important as what you do on Thanksgiving is what you do the day after. You can’t afford to let one day of indulgence rob you of your fitness, so get right back into your normal exercise and fitness routine as soon as possible.
Thanksgiving and fitness don’t need to be mutually exclusive. If you follow these tips, you can give thanks for both food and fitness at the same time!