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      Skills to Help Your Child Gain Confidence to Ask Questions in Class

      Giving your child the courage to speak up for himself, ask questions in school and be engaged is key to his development. Children who ask questions in class are perceived as smarter than children who linger in the background, and are often given more challenging work, giving them an academic boost. There are several ways that you can give your child this confidence boost, and understanding them will help you to give him the courage he needs in class.

      Talk to Your Child

      Set aside a time each day to talk to your child. Ask him how his day went, and don’t accept a simple “good,” as an answer. Have him tell you what happened at the beginning of the day, what books he read, who he sat with at lunch or what he did during art class. Then, tell him about your day. Allow him to ask questions about your commute, your co-workers and your work. If you’re a stay at home parent, chat with him about the errands you ran, the work that you did or your volunteer work. The key here is to get him used to having conversations with adults.

      Let Her Teach You

      An easy way to give your child confidence in the classroom is to make sure she has mastered the work. Have her teach you concepts that she has learned in class. Choose a multiplication problem and ask her how to perform the operation. Have her read a book to you and explain what the story is about. Intentionally get part of the task wrong so that she can correct you. By teaching you how to perform their tasks, they will be more confident in themselves and their ability to explain skills if asked.

      One of the main reasons that kids don’t want to answer questions in class is because they are unsure that they will have the right answers. Kids learn more by doing and teaching, and the question and answer session with you will give them valuable practice for being put on the spot in class.

      Allow them to Make Mistakes

      One of the reasons that hand raising and answering questions is so difficult is because there are often severe consequences for making mistakes. Kids often think of the world in either black or white, right or wrong. Teachers can often unintentionally reinforce this notion by praising only 100 percent correct answers. Change this notion at home by allowing your child to make a mistake, think about the correct answer and work through his knowledge bank to find the correct answer.

      Listen to Them

      Some kids don’t participate in class because the teacher is not actually listening to them. The teacher may be listening for the right answer, but not to the child’s thought process or his opinions on the subject. When your child is talking, listen to her. Dig deeper into the meaning of what she is saying, and ask her clarifying questions. Try to delve into the unspoken motivation behind her words. Is she asking questions because she wants more attention from you, or is she looking for literal answers? When you show your child that you are listening, they will gain the confidence they need to engage in class participation.

      Enroll them in Martial Arts

      Enrolling your child in a martial arts class is an amazing way to help him gain self-confidence and self-esteem. When your child feels good about himself, he will be empowered to ask questions, raise his hand and speak up while at school. In addition, he will be more confident in other areas of his life. He will learn to communicate with adults, stand up to bullies and ask for what he wants in life.

      Martial arts classes teach them to look within themselves and find their strengths. This allows them the courage he needs to make mistakes, even with his peers as an audience.

      Model Assertive Behavior

      Passive people are often timid, afraid to speak up and put other people’s needs before their own. Aggressive people are often loud, overpowering and put their needs before others. The happy medium is the assertive person who stands up for himself without infringing on the rights of others. Model this behavior for your child. If you are given the wrong change in the supermarket, show him that it is okay to speak up and ask for the correct amount without being aggressive toward the cashier. This will help him to be more assertive. Show him that he can participate in class and speak up instead of being timid and cowed.

      One of the problems that keep students from raising their hand is that they are often intimidated by the more aggressive kids. They may weakly raise their hand to speak while other kids simply yell out the answer or jump up out of their seats. It can be hard to overcome these challenges, so practice assertive behavior on a daily basis so that it becomes habit for your child.

      Role play situations with him in which he speaks up for himself. Give him a scenario that is intimidating, and work through strategies to help him to feel confident in his abilities to verbally defend himself.

      Getting your child to speak up in class is critical for his academic career. Timid kids often get overlooked and underestimated, making them less likely to be challenged or pushed ahead in school. The kids who achieve the most are those who can speak up for themselves, ask for what they want and demand their place in the conversation. These skills will become invaluable in their adult lives as they jockey for position in the workforce and in the world of business.

      The best ways to give your child the confidence he needs is to get him to talk to you and other adults, ask questions and practice the art of speaking in front of an audience. Enrolling him in karate classes will encourage his participation in his classroom and throughout life.

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      Getting Your Kid to Participate in Class

      Ideas To Encourage Schoolroom Participation

      We all remember the different types of kids in our childhood schoolrooms. Some kids were super loud and funny. Others were smart and brainy. Some were athletic and popular, and others were painfully shy. We all probably remember, for better or for worse, where we fell in that schoolroom continuum.

      Now you’re a parent, and perhaps you have one of those painfully shy children as your very own. What’s the best way to help your child bloom and participate in class? Here are some things to remember.

      Give It Time

      If you have young kids who are just beginning school, be sure you give them some time to get adjusted before worrying to much about class participation. Spending all day or even half a day in class can be a strange experience for the first several weeks. They may be overwhelmed with all the activity or be uncertain about how to interact with other kids.

      Let your kids get to know their teacher and classmates at their own pace. Give them time to figure out rules of behavior and schoolroom expectations. Chances are they will warm up to the whole experience as time moves on.

      Open Lines of Communication With the Teacher

      Remember that you and your kid’s teachers need to work together to make the entire experience a positive one. Introduce yourself early on during the year and share any concerns you might have about your kids. Encourage your children’s teachers to contact you by phone or e-mail if they need any support or come up with helpful ideas you can implement at home.

      Be sure to participate in parent/teacher conferences during the year. Talk with your kid’s teacher about the types of activities they are doing in class. Suggest ways that your kids might be able to participate more fully in a particular unit study by sharing something of their own. Compare notes regarding your kid’s behavior in class vs. at home and talk about why there might be differences.

      Volunteer or Visit

      There’s nothing like spending time in your kid’s schoolroom to get a more accurate picture of a typical day. Most classes welcome parent visits or volunteers. See if you can stop in once a week to read to the class or help a slower or more advanced group of students. Or, if your schedule doesn’t permit regular volunteering, take time to at least make a short visit so you can observe your kids with their teachers and classmates every once in awhile.

      While you’re visiting, watch your child and observe what’s going on. Is your child avoiding activities that may be new or difficult? Are others teasing your child? Are the activities too easy and therefore boring for your child?

      If you notice something like this, talk with the teacher about how to resolve the issue. Perhaps you can offer to teach your child how to play a classroom game at home to increase confidence. If something seems too difficult, perhaps a related easier task can be attempted. If the classroom seems boring, perhaps a more challenging activity can be introduced a few times a week.

      Build Confidence Outside School

      Use your time in the evenings and weekends wisely with your kids. If confidence is an issue, encourage learning new skills that can be applied later in the schoolroom. Sometimes kids prefer to struggle with tasks at their own pace at home before attempting them in a public place like in a class.

      Consider signing up for outside activities. Sports, martial arts and music lessons can all help kids feel like they are mastering something. They also provide a way to allow them to share their skills with friends and teachers at a later time.

      Although praising every single thing a child does is insincere and tends to backfire long term, offer real praise when it’s earned and deserved. If your kids really struggles with something until it is mastered, congratulate the accomplishment.

      Foster Real Communication at Home

      It’s easy to fall into simply living with your family members in the same house and not really working on relationships. You may be tired and stressed after a day at work. Your kids may be burned out after a day in class. Everyone may grab a bite to eat and crash in front of the computer or television for a few hours before bed.

      Remember that even though it may take a little more effort, fostering real conversations with your kids can have long-term positive effects in their lives, your life and your entire relationship. Practice asking what was the best and worst thing in your child’s day, and then encourage your kids to ask you about your day. Although this may seem awkward at first, it is good practice in how to hold a caring conversation. Be sure to truly listen to answers; not just nod mindlessly while simultaneously checking your e-mail.

      Encourage Positive Relationships

      The more positive, supportive relationships kids have, the better. Help encourage good friendships that involve doing positive things together. Perhaps your kids can study with others in their class so they can ask questions and discuss things they didn’t understand with peers.

      You might want to organize a small group of kids who can volunteer to help at a nursing home, package food at a local shelter, or clean up a local park. Doing something helpful and positive together can build confidence and create an environment where talking can happen more naturally while you work toward a common goal.

      Kids may enjoy learning new skills. Consider signing up for an art class, a community drama class or a martial arts class. Fostering relationships between your kids and other non-academic teachers can help them feel more confident. That confidence can they translate to participating more in class.

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      Confidence: The Best Way to Combat Bullying

      Recently at the VMAs, the pop-singer Pink used her acceptance speech as a platform to address the insecurities that she’d heard from her six-year-old daughter. Her daughter felt she was ugly because she thought she looked like a boy with long hair. Because she’s so young, it’s easy to see how these insecurities could be attributed to bullying. Pink explained to her child that she’d faced criticism herself for being too masculine and did not let it deter her from becoming successful. She proceeded to show her daughter iconic celebrities that were considered odd and had endured the same criticism and managed to become legendary people. This allowed the little girl to see how amazing it is to be different when you have confidence and embrace who you are.

      Bullying has always been a difficult topic to discuss. Some people avoid the topic in an effort to keep the peace but rarely does ignoring a problem ever solve it. Bullying causes children to feel inferior to others and doubt themselves when they should be using this time to discover who they are, what makes them unique, and be confident in that person. At a young age, embracing who you are is difficult to do when others try to keep you down.

      Why do kids bully?

      Lack of self-confidence is the main reason that bullies do what they do. You’d assume that bullies have the most confidence, but they prey on those that they perceive to be weak because of their own insecurities. Most of the time, bullies have been already bullied by someone else and are simply taking out their aggression on whoever is accessible. They do this in an effort to make themselves feel superior. Their lack of confidence leads them to do cruel things to gain a sense of empowerment and control. Making their victims feel small is always the goal, so they’ll target whoever they believe they can break.

      How to combat bullying?

      Making sure that your child’s school has an anti-bullying awareness campaign is a great first step. Aside from that, if bullies don’t perceive your child as a victim, they’ll have nothing to target. Mind you, this has nothing to do with how intimidating your child looks, but with how they carry themselves. Instilling a sense confidence in our children will allow them to deter bullies. If your child is strong-minded, they cannot be broken by an insecure person. They’ll have a self-confidence and positive self-image that cannot be shaken because they truly believe in themselves and feel empowered.

      What makes a person confident?

      Confidence is essentially certainty or the belief that you can trust someone or something. Self-confidence is believing and trusting in yourself. This doesn’t happen overnight, but it is a decision be better and do better. Children must be exposed to confidence in order to learn confidence. They look to their role models to empower them before they learn to look inward for validation. It’s important as parents to tell our children how smart, or beautiful, or talented they are and to teach them that they can obtain anything that they work hard for. We must encourage them to try new things and develop a sense of importance.

      Back in 2012, a psychologist by the name of Amy Cuddy presented a very popular Ted Talk that focused on the effectiveness of body language and power posing. She explains that our nonverbals actually speak volumes to others and ourselves. When we are proud, we naturally tend to stretch out and open up our bodies. When we are less confident, we do the opposite and make ourselves small. When you’re alone, all you have to do is assume high-power poses for about two minutes, even when you don’t feel very confident, and your body will respond with real confidence. This talk was directed towards adults when facing interviews or other stressful situations that might require a little extra confidence, but who says this can’t apply to children?

      What’s the best way to instill confidence in a child?

      Although there are many options as far as how a child can gain confidence, physical activities and training like martial arts would be one of the best choices. The discipline that a child learns during martial arts training allows them to gain a sense of control. It requires kids to focus on their goal and using their abilities to achieve that goal. Teaching a child to master his or her body allows them to find that independence that they need.

      Many powerful poses and stances are taught during martial arts training, so imagine the incredible effect that these classes could have on your child. Every single class provides them with techniques that focus on posture and poised behavior. Every sparring match allows your child to perform under pressure, which is a huge benefit and skill that must be used throughout life. Your child will take the confidence learned from martial arts and carry it with them in everyday life.

      How will children be affected by martial arts overall?

      Your children will be walking tall with their heads held high, owning the confidence that they’ve developed. Although confidence can easily become arrogance, the martial arts also teach humbleness and sportsmanship. This is an extremely important characteristic to have because, without humbleness, your child could easily become the bully. Be sure to keep your child down to earth as their confidence soars.

      In addition to the confidence that they will have gained, they’ll obviously acquire some useful techniques in combat. While violence is never the goal in martial arts, in the worse case scenario, your child will be able to defend themselves if they are ever threatened. Let’s face it, you’ll always have those alphas in life that just want to dominate everyone. But, if your child is strong-minded, those bullies won’t be successful in making them feel small. The bully will have wasted their time trying to break the powerful human being that you’ve raised.

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      Grandmaster Lee class at Hales Corners.

      It was a packed house on Thursday night with Grandmaster Lee and students of all ages at the Hales Corners dojang. Come join us next time!

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