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5 Essentials for Teaching Toddler’s Martial Arts Classes

toddler hits a pad

Instructors need to keep kids moving in toddler martial arts classes. These classes should not involve meditation, breathing exercises or technical techniques. Toddlers need to be entertained while they are learning. These 5 essentials will ensure a successful toddler martial arts program for you!

1) Toddlers should wear their own uniform, or gi

While a full gi, or uniform, is not absolutely necessary, toddlers should know that it is only worn for their martial arts classes. Our toddler classes have always included a full gi for these youngsters with our logo on the back and a Little Eagles® Martial Arts patch sewn onto the front chest.   Wearing a uniform means toddler’s feel a sense of community. This age group can also begin to understand the significance of equality which is one reason martial artists wear gis.

2) Make sure you have the “right” instructor

Oh yes. Definitely an essential for teaching toddler martial arts classes. One big reason for either a) a failing toddler program or b) not having a toddler program at all is having the wrong instructor!  The owner or master instructor may not be the best choice for teaching this age group. A responsible teenaged or adult student could be a better choice.  

If you are of the mindset that the owner or master instructor “must teach all classes”, let me tell you, we were too. When we started teaching our toddlers classes in 1999, we failed miserably.  When we tried again in 2000 we asked an adult black belt if she would like to begin teaching the toddler classes. Best Idea Ever. 

3) Limit your class size

Depending on the size of your mat you may have anywhere from under 10 to over 30 students training at one time in your evening classes. This is definitely a time when size does matter! If you are instructing alone, toddler classes should have no more than 6 students on the mat at one time.  Having an assistant, or helper, is always a good idea. However, more than one instructor does not mean you should double your class size.  A maximum of 8 students, and a  maximum of 2 instructors ( don’t have too many distractions!) is a good rule of thumb for this age group.

4) Know the best time to run your toddler class

This is when talking to the parents of your students is priceless. We changed the time of our toddler classes a few times until we found the sweet spot that we have stuck with for many years.  We have been offering our Little Eagles® Martial Arts classes every week on Tuesday and Thursday from 4:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. . The students have taken their nap after lunch and had a snack on the way to their class to keep their tummy’s full and brains sharp. Our older kids classes begin at 5:00 p.m. which gives plenty of time for the toddlers to end their class without interruption or distraction.

5) Your style and our support!

Toddler martial arts classes should be about students learning to interact with each other, taking turns and earning respect. Instructors should make their classes engaging for toddlers while teaching valuable social skills all at the same time! After 2 decades of teaching toddler martial arts classes we know what games and drills work to instill these characteristics in our youngest of students! Little Eagles® Martial Arts offers quick streaming and downloadable video clips of actual classes for instructors to use in their own toddler martial arts classes! Your style and our support can mean new students and successful toddler classes for you.  

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