Roughly 11 percent of children have a diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (or ADHD), according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An ADHD diagnosis doesn't always equal years of medication or an un-treatable condition. If you're looking for an out-of-the-box way to help your child, the martial arts offers an alternative option. While you may already know that martial arts schools offer benefits for your child such as the development of discipline and physical skills, what about for kids with ADHD?
1. Setting goals. The martial arts helps kids to set, and accomplish, goals. This helps a child with ADHD to focus and work towards an objective. Whether it's mastering a new kick or getting to the next belt level, your child's martial arts experience includes both short- and long-term goal setting. Setting goals at karate class can translate into other areas of your child's life such as school.
2. Providing structure. Martial arts schools create structure that can help to keep kids with ADHD on track, according to ADDitude magazine. If your child is fluttering from place to place or doesn't want to follow directions, a karate class can keep him in line. The discipline involved requires a strict structure and routine. Even though your child may not exactly like the structure that martial arts classes require, it can help him to focus and develop self-control.
3. Keeping busy. Your child is on the go. He's here, he's there and he's running everywhere. As a physical activity, the martial arts offer a way to burn off energy within a framework of control and discipline. As your child practices kicking, punching and jumping, he'll get in a workout that focuses his energy on one task at a time.
4. Building concentration. Focus is key to a successful martial arts experience. When your child is at class he needs to concentrate at all times, focusing on what his instructor is saying and doing. He also needs to concentrate on what his own body is doing. In order to kick correctly or follow a form, your child needs to pay extra attention to controlling his muscle movements. This helps to quiet his overly active nature and build self-discipline.
Martial arts schools (like Master S.H. Yu Martial Arts) do more than train athletes. If your child has an ADHD diagnosis, a karate class may help him to focus, gain control and feel pride in reaching goals that he may have thought were unattainable.