How BJJ has helped my parenting

I am a new parent and luckily I have access to a ton of more accomplished parents than myself to ask questions of and pick their brains on the things that I encounter. Currently I have a 2.5 year old toddler and a 6 month old baby. I am used to teaching ages 4 and up on a regular basis, but that 0-4 age range was and often times still is a mystery to me. Luckily I take a growth mindset to parenting so I know I will be a better parent the more I work at it, just like Jiu-Jitsu, coaching and anything else that I have done in my life. 

That being said, I thought it would be fun to go over how being kid’s coach has helped me in parenting (though I still am a work in progress).

#1 Kids Only Have So Much Willpower in a day

This is true of humans of any age, but this idea has made parenting easier. If I am trying to work on something difficult with my son like speech therapy or my baby like tummy time, I try to knock those things out earlier in the day when they have more willpower and focus. Trying to squeeze in things that are difficult for them later in the day is tough when they are more tired and have probably used up energy. We see this all the time in class, we structure our technique to get the most out of them in the beginning and while warm ups are fun, they can’t be so taxing they have no mental energy left for learning. 

#2 Some of their best work happens on their own

As much as we like to help our children grow and learn, we have to let them have some time on their own for undirected play. My daughter rolled over the first time when we stepped out of the room. I usually come back to find my son has found a new way to jump off or climb up on something. Letting my son work on the strider bike out on his own saw him get better so much faster than under any help or guidance. Giving kids free time to train and explore moves creates a deeper understanding of things when they learn it. While we try to make the techniques as simple and easy to learn as possible, you have to give room for the students to be creative in their own way.

3# Kids explore, but more slowly than you realize

When we see a kid doing something we think is dangerous, like jumping off something, we often missed all the times that they gradually built up to that height. Kids are natural explorers: they test their environment. We see this all the time in Jiu-Jitsu as they try something different just to test the boundaries. My son seems to find a unique way to climb up the stairs every night. This is his natural way exploring his surroundings. Sometimes he climbs through the rails, other times he tries to take them 2 at a time with extreme flexibility. I might miss a few times and see something I thought was dangerous, but is actually pretty practiced. The same thing when we see something amazing in Jiu-Jitsu, they probably built up to that skill before trying it out. 

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