In the age of screens and instant connectivity, it can be hard to get the kids out and into the sunshine. Good old-fashioned “outside” games seem to bore modern children, but I have recently noticed youngsters showing an interest in
Tai Chi can improve a child’s self-esteem, confidence, and physical strength. As a martial art, Tai Chi also teaches children discipline, a sense of inner calm, and appropriate social skills. Tai Chi can be particularly helpful to children with ADHD, anxiety, and physical disabilities.
I’ve recently encountered a lot of parents racking their brains for good outdoor-play ideas, and I wondered if Tai Chi would “do it” for modern kids. I put a bit of time and effort into determining just how good Tai Chi can be for the modern child.
While technological advancement is a reality we all have to deal with, it is an undeniable fact that it is unhealthy for a child to spend all of his/her time glued to a screen. Below, I discuss several ways in which Tai Chi can benefit your child.
These are 15 benefits of Tai Chi for children.
1. Tai Chi is a highly adaptable exercise.
Getting the kids involved in exercise classes might seem like a daunting task, especially if your kids are of different ages and sizes. The good news about Tai Chi is that the classes are designed to suit all ages and all physical strengths (and weaknesses). This is truly the type of class that is great for all ages!
2. Tai Chi is suitable for both boys and girls.
When you start looking for sport and exercise classes for the kids, you might initially think about separating them. You know how it goes; ballet for the girls, football for the boys, right? Maybe it’s time to stop doing that. Tai Chi is a unique and beneficial form of exercise that both boys and girls can enjoy – at the same time and in the same space.
3. Learning Tai Chi teaches appropriate social skills.
Children can learn to socialize on a more mature level when participating in Tai Chi. When children have nothing in common (or no common goal/interest), social encounters can seem disjointed or chaotic. Tai Chi can change this type of scenario. As children learn to observe, help each other with movements, and have a common interest – it can help them to socialize in a calm, appropriate manner. Tai Chi can teach children about teamwork, leadership, and communication.
4. Tai Chi is fun yet non-competitive.
Some kid’s games and exercises can be competitive, and that creates an antagonistic environment for play. With Tai Chi, there’s no competition, and the focus is enjoying the activity. In fact, children are encouraged to help each other understand the motions and perfect them together. Uniformity in the movements of all participants is something that children will thoroughly enjoy. Children participating in Tai Chi focus on their instructor and themselves, and not on each other.
5. Tai Chi improves focus and concentration.
In order to learn the movements and perfect them, children need to pay attention, focus and concentrate. They must maintain this mindset for the duration of the session. The more children learn to focus their minds and concentrate on a task, the more these skills will develop and improve.
6. Tai Chi improves balance and coordination.
Outside play is quite important for developing a child’s physical strength. Playgrounds are typically designed to incorporate activities that help to develop a child’s arm and leg muscles and teach them how to balance and coordinate more effectively. As Tai Chi develops muscle tone, strength, stability, and flexibility, a child’s natural balance and coordination skills will develop and improve too.
7. Tai Chi is known to ease the symptoms of ADHD.
Studies have proven that Tai Chi can actually reduce hyperactivity in children when done consistently for just several weeks. Tai Chi is a very slow, controlled, calm martial art that requires focus and attention to detail. Children with ADHD get distracted easily when forced into tasks that are seen as “work”. As Tai Chi is a fun group activity, it is a great way to bring about a sense of calm in your child without making it seem like it’s a concentrated task.
8. Regular Tai Chi builds and develops physical strength.
It can be difficult to get a child to exercise and build physical strength. And you probably aren’t going to sign your young child up for weight lifting at the local gym. Tai Chi is not an aerobic sport, but it does provide a full-body workout. All muscle groups are worked, strengthened, and developed in a slow, controlled manner. When kids have fun, they don’t even know that they are exercising.
9. Regular Tai Chi reduces symptoms of anxiety.
Anxiety is more prevalent among young children and teens than ever before. Parents can feel quite helpless, watching their child struggle with anxiety. When someone feels anxious, deep breaths are often recommended. People are also typically told to try focus and calm their minds and think of something that’s relaxing. Tai Chi is perfect for this. The exercise requires slow, steady breathing, and calm movements. It requires focus and a calm mindset – and that just happens to be the entire basis of Tai Chi.
10. Doing Tai Chi helps develop correct posture.
Nowadays, children sit for long periods of time in classes and in front of the television. This can negatively impact on their postures. Spine, neck, and back problems are common among children – causing incorrect posture and leading to pain and discomfort. With Tai Chi, children can develop better posture through strengthening and developing of the muscles. To do Tai Chi, correct posture and a careful balance must be maintained. This can help to address the problem of incorrect posture and minimize the potential for strains associated with it.
11. Tai Chi can ease feelings of frustration and anger
Some kids experience anger and frustration and don’t know how to deal with those feelings appropriately. Teaching a child that they can work through their stresses in a calm and collected manner while maintaining an even temper, is important for their overall emotional well-being. Tai Chi focuses on deep breathing as well as slow and calm movements – these are ideal for quelling feelings of frustration and anger
12. Participation in Tai Chi increases self-esteem and confidence.
Teaching children to trust themselves enough to learn and complete a task or skill is vital for instilling a sense of confidence and self-esteem. Tai Chi takes some time to learn and requires children to truly commit themselves. Once your child learns the movements and starts enjoying the art, you can expect them to feel more confident in themselves and their achievements
13. Learning Tai Chi teaches discipline.
Discipline is something that all children need to learn from a young age. Without discipline, your child will never have the drive and commitment to complete tasks or progress in life. Tai Chi is excellent for teaching discipline as it requires regular practice, and a child must fully apply him/herself.
14. Tai Chi gets kids out in the fresh air and sunshine.
Tearing kids away from the confines of the house and their screens can be hard nowadays. Group activities are a great way to encourage children to get out and about in the fresh air and sunshine. Tai Chi is traditionally enjoyed outside in the fresh air. Classes are rarely held indoors.
15. Doing Tai Chi teaches children the importance of exercise
Getting your child to go on a bike ride once or go for a walk around the block a few times will do little towards teaching them the importance of exercise. When your child starts learning Tai Chi, they will need to practice on a daily basis as well as attend regular classes. They will very soon learn the importance of exercise and that it must be done regularly.
Overall Benefits of Tai Chi for Kids
Tai Chi is not just an ancient martial art that just a few people like to enjoy. It is actually a worldwide phenomenon practiced by millions of people. Nowadays, children are getting more involved in it due to its undeniable health benefits.
Tai Chi is excellent for mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Tai Chi focuses on a mind-body connection and is known to calm the mind, boost concentration levels, minimize anxiety, and even lower blood pressure. Tai Chi is a great release for pent-up tension – something many kids tend to have these days.
Tai Chi is an art form that is highly beneficial to people of all ages. It is thoroughly enjoyed by young and old, and there are several versions available to cater to a variety of unique physical strengths and abilities. If you are wondering if Tai Chi is beneficial to kids – the answer is a definite yes!