Martial Arts For Toddlers – Inspire Your Child’s Development

Have you ever thought of enrolling your toddler into a Martial Arts class? I know what you might be thinking, ” I don’t want my toddler kicking and punching at home or nursery.” It might surprise you that Martial Arts is helpful for your toddlers mental health and development.

See how some of our students have progressed in just a few months, and what their parents have to say


Skills Toddlers Need To Develop 

Is my child developing at the right stage❓

Does my child need extra support❓

Am I doing everything I can to help my child develop❓

These are just some of the questions we can’t help but ask ourselves as parents. The truth is, every child will develop at their own rate and in their own time. Of course, there are many things we can do to give our children a helping hand and guide them on their journey. But in the end, they must brave the big wide world themselves. 

The fact that you’re here is proof that you are trying to learn and give your toddler the best start. So, for your child’s developmental needs here are the benefits of Martial Arts for toddlers. 

Development Milestones 

Those development milestones everyone keeps asking you about have been conjured up over the years. All by people attempting to formulate child development so they can do their studies. The truth is those formulas and milestones don’t always account for each child’s individual circumstances, experiences and personalities. 

So, set an example to your child early and learn to let go of what you can’t control. 

On that note, learning about and understanding your child’s developmental needs IS something you CAN control.

The five main areas of development: 

  1. Cognitive Development – How they think  
  2. Social and Emotional Development – How they build relationships 
  3. Speech and Language Development – How they listen, understand and communicate 
  4. Fine Motor Skill Development – Using their hands and feet to explore 
  5. Gross Motor Skill Development – Using their whole bodies to explore and move 

Try and find an activity or a set of activities that helps your toddler develop in these five areas. This blog will tell you more about the benefits of Martial Arts for toddlers and development in these five main areas of development. 

Make sure they are engaging their body and mind during their weekly activities. Even better, find an activity that trains both their body and mind together and as one. 

Benefits of Martial Arts For Toddler Development 

Studies show that Martial Arts helps people of all ages develop fitness, focus, confidence, strength and so much more.  

Of course, you won’t find toddlers sparring and throwing jumping roundhouse kicks, but at this age Martial Arts is a tool for the five main areas of development. When these five areas are nurtured, over time, you will build a stronger, more well-rounded child. They will be able to both defend themselves and ‘Be Like Water,’ just like the great Bruce Lee. 

Here you will learn about how Martial Arts can help your toddler in each of the main five development areas, and what some parents say about getting their child started early in Martial Arts. 

Cognitive Development for Toddlers: 

When taught in a wholesome way Martial Arts will challenge your child to think outside of the box. They will be taught about their mind, emotions and how to channel their energy in a positive way. 

Toddlers Develop Critical and Rational Thinking in Martial Arts

How do they do that❓

Through learning to focus their mind on a specific technique or combination they channel their mind to eliminate distractions and focus on the task at hand.

Learning combinations through a set of verbal cues and executing them physically helps toddlers link their mind and body, as well as improving their reaction skills.

They also learn the application of Martial Arts and theory behind sparring. They become aware of thinking about their next move based on what makes sense biomechanically first. For example if they have just thrown a punch they will need to think about some defence soon after. Through fun games they quickly learn that, if they lose focus there can be consequences.

Focus In Martial Arts and Life

This mental development is quite often a byproduct of training in many Martial Arts schools, in favour of the action packed physical elements. However, those who are consciously taught this at an earlier age will come to understand the connection quicker and deeper than if they start later in life. Once they are aware they have something to work towards and aspire to. 

Here’s what David had to say about Zen’s focus in Martial Arts: “We’ve noticed quite a bit of change in him, espexcially in the class. He’s able to follow on, follow the class, follow with the rest of the group. He’s able to concentrate a lot better, and I think it’s carried through to home as well. Like I said, when he started, focus and concentration were real issues for him, and I think as he’s getting older and with FitRoots, he’s really improving at that.” 

Social and Emotional Development for Toddlers: 

Building friendships with other toddlers who are on their Martial Arts journey will give your child a safe community to share their goals and dreams with. They will also learn from and find inspiration from older students who are part of the community. Giving them positive role models outside of the home/nursery setting. 

Transitioning from nursery to School

Children may go from an open nursery or home environment where they are free to roam, to a school classroom with set rules and restrictions. Martial Arts will teach your child through play and guide your child through this transition. While they can run around and have fun, they learn and become aware of when to sit, listen and when to focus on the task at hand. 

When taught correctly, Martial Arts will teach your child to how to handle their emotions and difficult situations. One of the benefits of Martial Arts for toddlers is this early introduction to exploring emotions. This can be done through exploring the mind with ancient philosophy and psychology.

When they learn to distinguish their own emotional reactions, they are better equipped to start thinking more rationally and critically as they head into childhood. 

After training for just four months Sarah’s mum Elenis said: The most important thing I’ve seen is, she is more kind. She’s kinder to children. She uses her mind more often because we always talk about using our mind, what she thought she learned at FitRoots, at the classes. So when she is being rude to someone or she doesn’t speak nicely, I ask her, “Did you use your mind when you did that?”. And she says, “No.” So after that she rewinds and she uses her mind. She says, “Sorry.” And she’s more kind with children around her.” 

Here’s what David had to say about Zen’s social development: “I think it took us by surprise when he came to the first class, it was almost he wasn’t learning punching or kicking, he was almost learning to be part of a group and follow what the group is doing. At first, I’d watch him, and he’d be looking at people to try and figure out what they’re doing. Now, you tell him and he knows.” 

Watch Zen’s full story >>> here

Speech and Language Development for Toddlers: 

By becoming a part of a Martial Arts community, your child will learn from other students as well their instructors. They follow commands set out by their instructor and observe what the other students are doing. They then piece the pieces of the puzzle together.

Over time they learn how to articulate themselves better and communicate their thoughts so people will understand.  

Here’s what Priya saw in Aaroosh’s development: “He’s keen to answer most of the questions. Even if he doesn’t know, he raises his hands. Initially I still remember he used to raise up his hand and he didn’t know what he wanted to answer. Then he was told, “Aaroosh, you need to think first and then you need to raise your hand to reply. So you should know what you’re raising your hand for.” 

Read the rest of Aaroosh’s story >>>here.


Here’s what David had to say about Zen’s social development: “I think it took us by surprise when he came to the first class, it was almost he wasn’t learning punching or kicking, he was almost learning to be part of a group and follow what the group is doing. At first, I’d watch him, and he’d be looking at people to try and figure out what they’re doing. Now, you tell him and he knows.” 

Fine Motor Skill Development for Toddlers: 

When starting your child’s Martial Arts journey early, you may think about your child’s development in coordination, balance and various other gross motor skills. And of course, you would be right. But let’s not forget the other fine motor skill development that comes when your child learns to understand their body.  

Whilst not so obvious, your child will inevitably learn the very foundations for their continual development in Martial Arts. They may not be learning full joint locks and various combinations, but they will be building their foundations to pick these up in good time. The earlier they start their understanding of how their own body moves, the sooner they will get their opponent into a successful arm lock. 

Develop the love of Martial Arts early and guide your child to have a better understanding and connection to their body. 

Here’s what Karimah had to say about Kairo’s development in Martial Arts “His confidence has really improved and his love for martial arts has definitely been sparked.” 

Gross Motor Skill Development for Toddlers: 

Probably more obvious than fine motor skill development, gross motor skill development comes quite early in the practice for toddlers. Movements that come so naturally for humans include walking, throwing and running. To develop these skills in your child early will help them with their overall physical development as they grow older.  

  • Punching and kicking will exercise their throwing skills
  • Stance practice will help with balance and coordination which will help develop a strong gait cycle (how your toddler walks)
  • Running is a key element to so many toddler programme and a great way to let off some excess energy


Depending on age and ability, building gross motor skills will be different at each stage of development. Toddlers are not ready for anything too intensive. Therefore, they should perform tasks that challenge their current skill level, and this is made much easier when they are having fun and are engaged physically and mentally.  

Other activities to help toddlers develop their fine motor skills include jumping, hopping, skipping.  

Here’s what Hanif and Jemimah’s mum has to say after 4 years of training at FitRoots . Hanif started when he was just 3 years old: “I am happy Jemimah and Hanif both attend FitRoots, I can see their change and development in metal and physical side to these lessons. The children have been attending since Sensei Aidan started up FitRoots and I can see a great accomplishment he has achieved so far.” 

People are always so shocked when they find out our classes start for children from 2 years old.

Talk to a FitRoots instructor click here to book your call.

I know, it sounds a bit mad , but there is a reason why we start so young.  

What Toddlers Learn In Martial Arts  

Skills such as focus and listening will help you toddler as they are preparing to join nursery or reception.  

Toddlers Learn Respect in Martial Arts

The ancient discipline taught in Martial Arts teaches toddlers respect outside of their home environment. Traditionally students would see their instructors and ask for life advice and seek permission before making big life decisions.

Toddlers Learn Structure in Martial Arts

The simple act of bowing to initiate class allows toddlers to create and understand their own structure. They understand once they bow to begin, they are taking art in Martial Arts. That being said, they should be taught that Martial Arts continues outside of the Dojo (where Martial Arts classes take place). 

It’s easier to build strong children than repair broken men.

Frederik Douglass 

We agree! It’s much easier to train a child to build good habits than to unlearn all your bad habits in adulthood. 

How many of us have built bad habits from the way we were raised?… Me ✋ 

Of course, we aren’t teaching the little ones how to throw flying kicks or practice 12 move combos (even though they learnt their first 3 move combo last week #soproud). 

It’s a process and a journey which starts with building solid foundations. 

To have an exceptional child you must do exceptional things. 

Watch Zen’s story here to find out why a 2 year old CAN be a Martial Artist too! 

If you are checking out Martial Arts clubs then make sure you read our 5 Signs Of A Bad Martial Arts Schools blog before you start your search. 

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