Planning extracurricular activities for your child

The beginning of the school year also means you will be enrolling your kids in extracurricular activities. If you want your child to be physically active, a sport is probably at the top of your list. But which ones do you choose? With so many out there, you and your child might be taking a stab in the dark. Instead of going with popular team sports, like baseball or soccer, consider martial arts. Here are just a few reasons why a martial sport can benefit your child:

Goal setting
Learning to set and work toward goals are important skills everyone needs. At a young age, your kids are probably just starting to learn how to do this, and discovering the ability can help them succeed in school. Martial arts can help your kids create and achieve goals. 

Martial arts feature belts, which students are awarded after learning certain skill sets. As such, they have goals built right into the curriculum. In addition to that, the instructor can help your student create his or her own goals, such as being able to reach his or her toes when stretching or being able to kick higher than his or her belly button.

Goals will become a normal part of your kids' lives, so they'll be able to create academic ones during the school year, too.

Year-round learning
Team sports only take place during certain seasons, meaning your kids will be busy and active during certain times and sedentary during others. Martial arts, on the other hand, are practiced year round. Your child can start this fall and continue as long as he or she wants. This ensures your children are fit and healthy constantly. What's more, it provides activity during holidays – in fact, many martial arts schools create summer camps so kids have something to do when they're out of school and their parents are at work.

Individual development
Team sports require kids to work together. This, of course, is an important skill to have, but it means that certain children struggle to keep up. Kids who may be new to a team sport might slow their team down. Experienced kids could get frustrated with less-seasoned ones. Martial arts, on the other hand, encourage individual development. Kids are competing against themselves, constantly striving to improve. Your child doesn't have to keep up with his or her peers and can just focus on individual goals. This has another byproduct: building self-confidence.

Most martial arts classes have a mix of age groups, so your child might be paired with kids a few years older or younger than he or she is. This helps everyone in the class gain more self-awareness. Your kids will see that they can achieve difficult goals the way the older kids can. It'll also show that younger children can do great things. What's more, most classes are coed, allowing kids to gain respect for girls and boys alike.

Finally, by making mistakes and overcoming obstacles, your kids will learn what they're own strengths and weaknesses are – they'll learn to be reflective.

With so many positive benefits, it's easy to see why martial arts can be a great alternative to team sports.