Despite my Wife thinking the opposite, teaching my toddler some self-defense is one of the best things I have done!
Even though he is a Boy, there is absolutely no reason you should not teach your toddler…Boy or Girl…. self-defense. It is much more important for a Girl to know how to defend herself in later life, if anything. It can be a hazardous world! Preparation is key.
My Wife has changed her opinion now, by the way, because she has been the benefits of my toddler learning self-defense!
By the way, this is not just one of those ‘Dad things.’ It is something that both parents should buy into because the benefits are extraordinary.
Toddler self-defense – Why is it important?
Confidence is one of the biggest things a person can have, and encouraging confidence is the parent’s job.
You can do many things to encourage confidence your kid has, and learning self-defense through Martial Art will also give them important life skills!
In this article, we give you 5 good reasons why you should teach your Toddler self-defense, along with a few things to watch out for!
Also – there are some recommended Martial Arts to help you choose which one to teach your Toddler.
5 reasons why it is a good idea to teach your Toddler self defense
Here are the 5 benefits of teaching your Toddler self-defense!
1. Self defense teaches discipline
Learning self-defense requires discipline.
I am not talking about JUST listening and doing what you are told – I am also talking about being disciplined in practicing the skills they are learning.
When I was younger…..much younger, and I was at the Dojo learning Judo, I did not have any option but to sit and listen to what they were teaching me. If I didn’t listen, it would usually end up in an exercise-based punishment, which was never easy!
You will be surprised at how quickly your toddler will display discipline after just a few self-defense classes.
2. Self defense will improve your toddler’s confidence
Being a new person in this world, it takes a bit of time for confidence to grow. Confidence is given to a child by allowing them to make (some) decisions. It shows that you have confidence in them, and they begin to believe it.
Confidence in their ability is crucial, and with training and practice comes knowledge, and knowledge will form confidence.
There is also confidence when meeting new people. If my Son walks into a room, it takes him a few minutes to settle before he is off doing his own thing.
Imagine being a toddler, and you walk into a room full of other kids. Some are being a little boisterous! It is likely to elicit some fear or trepidation. Now imagine that you have basic skills in dealing with kids who try to push you around. Suddenly, you are more confident that they will not be able to!
3. Self defense will help to stop childhood obesity
Childhood obesity is a real problem, and there are too many fat kids dragging their enormous bodies around.
Letting your kid get fat is, in my opinion, a form of child abuse. You CANNOT allow them to be unhealthy. Despite the calls of ‘big is beautiful,’ it is NOT healthy.
You are in charge of what your kids eat, not them. If they eat too much and get fat, it is your fault as a parent, and I do not care if you think I am crossing the line.
Regular exercise is key to battling obesity, even for kids, and self-defense is an awesome way of making sure they get regular exercise. If they enjoy doing it, then it is even better!
Not only will it help them for the short term, if a child is used to exercise as a kid, that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. They will develop into a healthy teenager, young adult, and then an adult!
4. Teaching your toddler self defense will give you more Dad time
I love this!
As a Dad – I love spending time with my Son. It is just him and me during the self-defense lessons, and I am teaching him an essential life skill.
As a Dad, I want a strong bond with my Son, and spending time with him will help to strengthen that bond.
5. YOU will get more confidence and less worry
There are some days when I know my Son is at pre-school, and I wonder if any other kid is trying to bully him. It is a worry for all parents…or at least it should be.
Teaching him self-defense means I worry less about bullies because I know that he has a few skills that will help him stop it even as a toddler.
This will carry on when he goes to school and even when he gets a job and moves out of home! I will know that he has skills that can get him out of situations that frighten the hell out of parents!
Toddler self defense – what to watch out for
You need to keep an eye on the following 2 things if you decide to teach your Child self-defense……
1. Do NOT encourage bullying
his is a big one. It is all well and good teaching your toddler self-defense, but you do not want them to cross the line and become a bully themselves!
You need to keep an eye on this and act on any display of being a bully.
The whole point is to prepare them for times when they need to stand up to the bullies, not create a bully!
If you fear your child is a bully – it is time to step up and deal with it before it gets out of hand.
2. Do NOT be the overbearing Dad
During my years of Judo, I entered many gradings and competitions, and I was one of the lucky ones…
I didn’t have a Dad that thought he knew more than the graders or the referees. I did, however, witness many parents who were like that. Even to the point where they were flat out arguing with the referees in front of the whole competition! C’mon….get a grip!
Do not be that person who questions every decision. No one likes a pushy parent.
If your kid likes what they are doing, encourage them. Spend time with them while they practice. Help them, do not hinder their progress.
Recommended self defense for Toddlers
Judo HAS to be the first Martial Art I recommend! Simply due to my experience in learning it as a kid.
Judo was first created in 1882 in Japan by Jigoro Kano, and it means ‘The Gentle Way.
It is the perfect Martial Art for a child to learn! There is a chokehold included in the Judo curriculum, but they are taught when the ‘Judoka’ is much older.
Similar to Wrestling, Judo is close combat.
Training will improve your child’s coordination, balance, and posture.
If it weren’t that I was taught Judo as a child, I would recommend Aikido as the perfect Martial Art to teach a child self-defense.
Why? Because the whole purpose of Aikido is to defend themselves while protecting their attacker from injury! When an attack comes in, the Aikido practitioner will redirect their momentum to take the attack down in a controlled way.
Aikido will develop a phenomenal balance!
Kung Fu is an awesome way of promoting focus and coordination! Plus, it means they can be super tough!
Basically, Kung Fu is the solo name for a collection of Chinese Martial Arts and includes several HUNDRED fighting styles. The most popular being Wing Chun, due largely to Mr. Bruce Lee. Also, recent films have emerged depicting the life of Ip Man.
Wing Chun is a softer Kung Fu and concentrates more on performing the techniques in a relaxed manner, which allows for increased speed and power in the attacks.
Kung Fu will develop speed, coordination, and concentration, and confidence.
Karate (‘Empty Hand’) was developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom before being brought to Japan in 1879.
Unlike Judo, Karate is a Martial Art where the focus is on striking your opponent using punching, kicking, elbow strikes, and knee strikes.
It is essential to explain to your child that Karate should only be used in controlled circumstances and not on the playground.
Karate will improve balance and agility.
There are other forms of self-defense that you can teach your Toddler, but I have recommended the sports above because they are the best for a kid in that age group.
Boxing, for instance, will improve stamina, agility, and strength but could end up with a few broken noses as they grow up! Jujutsu is a fantastic Martial Art, but the focus is on arm locks and chokes, which I do not recommend for a child! As they get older, it is worth considering.
Take a look at local classes for your child. You could even go out and learn it yourself to pass on the knowledge and increase Daddy time!
I will reiterate; this is NOT just for Boys. Girls need to learn self-defense too! If you think Martial Arts is not for girls, take a look at the last Olympics to see exactly how good they are. I am certain that will change your mind.
Unfortunately, there are bullies in this world. Some people are out to cause harm. Knowing that your child can handle themselves in those situations will increase your confidence. It is an important life skill that you hope will never be tested.
Whatever you chose, make sure your child enjoys doing it and not forcing them to learn if they are not ready.