Practicing martial arts is good for kids with ADHD, and Natalie reports that it relaxes her.
Natalie takes Tae Kwon Do classes through our local Parks and Recreation Department. While I, personally, have never seen the appeal of martial arts, I was happy to sign Natalie up when she showed an interest. I’d read (in ADDitude!) that practicing martial arts is good for kids with ADHD.
After watching Natalie in class, I could see why that’s the case. Natalie responds well to the way discipline and respect are built into the class structure. And the movements themselves struck me as a natural form of occupational therapy. Natalie even identified, in therapy (her psychologist is a black belt!) that doing Tae Kwon Do forms relaxes her, helps her regain control when she’s becoming unhinged, and she’s working on using that as a coping skill. I was pleased to observe that the instructor is great with her (Nat doesn’t stay focused for the whole hour) and also with another child in the class who appears to have autism. Nat’s tested once since she started learning Tae Kwon Do, and earned her yellow belt.
The only thing about Tae Kwon Do that’s antithetic to kids with ADHD is the uniform, the dobok. It’s white, for God’s sake. White clothing and ADHD just don’t mix! Am I right, moms?
My niece, Hannah, takes Nat to her lesson every Thursday night. They return home around 8:00, and Nat’s HUNGRY! I insist that she change out of her dobok before eating a single bite. Believe me, that two- or three-minute transition is frenetic! But necessary--otherwise, it wouldn’t just be Nat’s belt that would change colors!