Wow…just like that, it’s back-to-school season for our students! Back to school season can test even the stoutest of parents and students alike, especially after last year’s school season.
During this time, I see many parents pull their children out of classes because of concern over “being prepared for school”, or “we just don’t think he can handle both school and taekwondo classes”. I even hear the often said, “My child is starting ____ grade. I just don’t know how they’re going to do, so we want to stop taekwondo classes.”
Before you decide to pull the plug on taekwondo classes, though, I’d really like for you to see that staying in taekwondo actually benefits students through the “back to school” transition.
This is because when we teach, we teach with the brain in mind!
All of our classes focus on generating what we call D.O.S.E.: Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins via our age-specific classes while teaching kicks, punches, and forms. This plays a major role in keeping our students balanced through the start of the school year.
One of the things we hear during the “back to school” season is the concern over adapting to a new workload. One of the ways sticking with taekwondo will help is by triggering the release of Dopamine in each and every class. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate emotional responses and enables us to both see and take action to achieve rewards. In nearly every class, we have a small goal for students. Sometimes its a stripe. Often it’s learning a new move or new parts of their form. When students achieve a goal, it triggers the release of dopamine and increases their desire to keep achieving their goals. With the release of Dopamine in class, students can head home and have the emotional stability needed to work on any challenging school work.
Oxytocin is another key neurotransmitter that is triggered in our classes by creating positive social interactions. Fitting in, social anxiety, and bullying are real things that kids can worry about as they head back to school. Consistently having a lack of oxytocin can create negative effects on the brain which is why we provide the best in mentors, coaches, and the development of positive friendships. This will also help them develop the courage to step outside of their comfort zone and be more comfortable in stressful situations.
Have you ever noticed that your child was “moody”? This may occur more often in the midst of the summer-to-school transition (especially for our pre-teens!). This is because they are having to figure out how to balance all the challenges of the new year. What if you could help set them up to manage these emotions? You can! Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that is responsible for maintaining mood balance, as well as, social behavior, appetite, and memory. It is easily triggered by exercise and remembering joyous events, all of which are integral parts of every taekwondo class.
Finally, after sitting all day in a new environment, coming to their taekwondo class and getting moving again with a good workout is going to trigger the release of endorphins in their system. This means that they will be feeling more energized, motivated, and in control at the end of class. Another key benefit of increased Endorphins is that sleep quality will increase. With a new, most likely earlier wake-up time, increased sleep quality will do wonders for our students.
As with all things in life, balance is the key! Not only do we strive to create a fun and safe environment to promote a physical balance but we also use science & psychology behind every class planner and drill to keep our students’ brains balanced as well.
All of this is to reach our end goal of helping every student become the best version of themselves!