One of the biggest concerns parents have when it comes to children and athletic ventures is how hard to push them in the sport. The fear is that constantly forcing a child to go to practice may result in burnout or resentment. Surprisingly, some of the best encouragement to keep kids from end-of-year exhaustion in the gym or dojo may arrive straight from the big fat man in the red suit. He may not be a shining example of fitness, but he can carry a load of motivation wrapped in ribbons and tape.
Up to the point of pre-teen adolescence, it is safe to say that all kids really want to do is eat, sleep and play. Nothing encourages play like a new toy, especially on Christmas day. The anticipation of receiving a gift naturally spikes adrenaline levels, which are hard to drop, especially after a sleepless night of listening for reindeer. Here is a list of gift suggestions for your little martial artist.
Even as an adult, as soon as we purchase a new gi or rash guard, that is likely going to be the first thing we grab to put on during the following practice session. Children will take that to a whole other level and can often be expected to sleep in their new kimono or Thai shorts . . . possibly for multiple nights.
Fresh Gloves/Shin guards
If a child’s sport requires gloves or shin guards, a new pair is the way to go. There are so many different brands and styles of these items that you can search online and find something creative, colorful and fun for your child at a reasonable price. Keep in mind the age and level of your child’s training. At seven years old, they probably don’t care if they have $100 competition standard gloves. Aside from the excitement of the new gear, there are multiple other benefits.
- Stinky gear can now be thrown away
- There is an extra pair on standby for when one is lost
Unique & Comfortable Protective Gear
Sometimes it is difficult to get children to concede to wearing protective equipment such as headgear and mouth guards. This is especially true of those who are approaching the pre-teen/teen years and have somehow come up with the crazy notion that protective gear is not “cool,” because you need to be “tough.” For this reason it is important to find gear you know your child will like. This could be as simple as custom ordering a mouth guard that has a design your child will like or finding headgear in their favorite color.
Comfort and sizing is also important when purchasing protective gear.
- If it doesn’t fit right, it will not protect correctly
- If it is uncomfortable, they will be discouraged from wearing it
Toys, Toys, Toys!
At the end of the day, toys are the way to go. If you have a child in a children’s MMA class, you may want to find the latest figurine of their favorite UFC fighter. If you have a boxer, get them a punching bag. If you have a grappler, check out the small grappling dummies. Encourage them to use their art for play!