Back to School Tips with Master Mom from Olson’s Martial Arts

Martial Arts IS Back to School Help …and other things!

Master Glenn Olson instructing a student

As martial arts instructors, heading “Back to School” is something we hear about all the time. This is as good a reason as any to talk about a little broader subject. The one of starting or restarting anything new.  There are some tried and true methods to help people of all ages make a smooth transition into a new environment no matter what age they are. School-age, teenage, young adult-age, and all the rest of us.


Step #1            Plan Ahead


Starting something new is almost always a little stressful, even if it is something you are really looking forward too.  It NEVER hurts to do a little pre-planning and even visualization (which is something we do in Martial Arts all the time).  Simple things like knowing exactly where you are going. Having your clothes and other necessary materials ready to go the night before.  What will you have for breakfast and lunch?  Do you need cash or other forms of money for anything?  What is the plan afterwards?  Do you need to know where the bus stop is, or will you meet someone somewhere?  Take some time before hand to think about these things and others that will greatly improve how smooth your first day goes.


Maybe you need a parking pass or something prepared to turn in.  So many little things that need attention.  Take the ten minutes to think about it, then take the time to prepare.  You will be so glad you did when the inevitable unexpected pops up.


            Re-Do – So, you wish you had read this earlier and your first day, week, month has been a disaster!  Very simple solution; start over.  Turn over a new leaf and be one of those successful, less stressed out people who plan ahead.  You can do it.


Step #2            Be Flexible


We’ve all heard that the best laid plans can go to waste.  Not an excuse.  I hold to the, failing to plan is planning to fail, philosophy.  In very important circumstances a contingency plan is a great idea.  Suppose you plan to walk home from school but a huge storm blows in.  What is the plan? Your ride is late.  What is the plan?  You forgot your lunch.  What is the plan?

       These types of scenarios happen all the time and the prepared person is not shaken.  They confidently handle the change and move on.  Remember, a stiff stick will break but a flexible reed will bend.  It does help to know which way to bend, however, so preparing for flexibility in your plan is a good idea.


Step #3            Support those in Charge


To begin with, do a little research.  Whether it is for a new class, new sports team, or new job.  Know who, the go to people, are.  Introduce yourself ahead of time, if not in person than through email or letter.  As a leader myself, it really helps to know who I am going to be working with ahead of time with a little information that can help make our first interaction a positive one.


Let the teachers, coaches, bosses, leaders, know how to reach you in case of change or to give you important information.  I know for myself, it’s nice to know how to let someone know I need to reschedule for any number of reasons.


If you are advocating for a child, make sure the teacher knows all the ways to contact you and that contacting you won’t be a problem.  Give an alternative number or contact in case you can’t be reached. 


By contacting those in charge and letting them know you support them, you provide a smooth way for communication which can always help make first days go smoothly.


Step #4            Recap


When the day is complete and the new activity is over, talk about it.  Talk about what went well, what didn’t.  Talk about how it felt, and would you do anything differently the next time.  If you are a parent of a child who was really nervous, make sure you praise them and tell them how proud you are of them.  Even if they were scared.  Everyone needs a little assurance.


If this was your first day on the new team or job, pat yourself on the back.  Take yourself out to dinner or buy yourself something special.  Celebrate your win.  The number one reason people don’t do new things is because they are afraid.  By trying something new you overcame fear.  That is worth being proud of.


Amanda Olson – Master Mom – Olson’s Martial Arts Academy, INC

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