Nurturing Children’s Social Development During the Pandemic | On the Mat Martial Arts
ACCESS OUR VIRTUAL SCHEDULE
& EXCLUSIVE WEB SPECIAL

Secure your spot and get started today with our EXCLUSIVE offer!

By opting into the web form above you are providing consent for On The Mat Martial Arts to send you periodic text messages. Standard rates may apply. You can reply HELP at anytime or learn more. You may opt-out anytime by replying STOP.
ACCESS OUR VIRTUAL SCHEDULE
& EXCLUSIVE WEB SPECIAL

Secure your spot and get started today with our EXCLUSIVE offer!

By opting into the web form above you are providing consent for On The Mat Martial Arts to send you periodic text messages. Standard rates may apply. You can reply HELP at anytime or learn more. You may opt-out anytime by replying STOP.
Michelle Dolak reviewed On The Mat Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

Our family can't say enough about On The Mat! Master Melody and her awesome team of Ninjas are like a parent's secret weapon. Our son goes to practice Tae Kwon Do, he ends up learning about character, respect, self-control and other priceless virtues! The family environment and friendships fostered at this club have added a beautiful dimension to each of our lives. I have as much fun catching up with friends each week as Robert Paul has on the Dojo. We are grateful to be apart of such an amazing program.

Adrian De Silva reviewed On The Mat Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

Awesome instructors and place to train for kids in the area If you live in the Saint Pete's area this is where to bring your kids for not just the best martial arts but life training Skillz!

Jessica Hodosky reviewed On The Mat Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

Just started but I can tell the school is amazing and the staff are very nice and attentive! My daughter seems to love it too!

Suzanne Saccani reviewed On The Mat Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

The best customer service ever, Melody Shuman and her staff go out of their way to over deliver

Cydney Swindle Tuten reviewed On The Mat Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

The best money that our family has invested in the development of our child! As an early childhood educator, I am very picky about extra curricular activities! On the Mat is the model for positive reinforcement! They treat everyone like family! We are so grateful that we are there and only wish we had found them sooner!

Mark J. Speranza reviewed On The Mat Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

No better place than OTM for brinhing the best out of your child. The instructors are some of the best and the owner Melody Shuman is the most knowledgeable in child neuroscience. Many martial art facilities around the world look to her and use her Skillz methods for teaching children. AAA++++++

Brooke Breland reviewed On The Mat Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

We signed our 5 year old up for the free trial over the summer to try out something new and keep him active during the summer. He absolutely fell in love with it and asked if he could go every day! The curriculum is perfectly geared toward each particular age group. The instructors are so engaging and committed. The skills and confidence our son has gained just in a few short months are priceless. Our summer activity has quickly become part of our regular year round schedule and I foresee him continuing for years to come. OTM rocks!!

On The Mat Martial Arts St Petersburg Kids Martial Arts & Fitness for All Ages!
Call us today to get started 727-548-5425
Request Information

Blog

Our latest news & thoughts

Nurturing Children’s Social Development During the Pandemic

For the past two months, we have been asked to socially distance ourselves from others in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. We’ve put most of our “normal” daily living routines on pause and created a secluded environment for ourselves and our children. And while many things are in a holding pattern, one thing that has not taken a break is children’s development. And yes, we are living in unprecedented times but as the world begins the “re-opening” effort, we must prepare ourselves and our children for what our social lives will look like moving forward.

 

Children’s social development is being impacted with the guidelines surrounding social distancing. They are no longer able to attend school and interact with their teachers and friends and most parents are also limiting their children’s time spent going on errands as well. Therefore, their ability to interact with others is limited. And what’s worse is that many people have taken the term “social distancing” to mean that they cannot interact with others at all. The stress of getting sick has instilled fear in our minds and caused many to avoid eye contact and greeting others, in addition to staying 6 ft. apart.

 

For children, “social distancing” can be confusing, especially when parents are avoiding others on all levels. And while the intention of this phrase is good, it has sent the wrong message. What we need to teach children is to “physically distance” themselves from others. This term tells them to maintain distance while also letting them know that eye contact and greetings are okay. This way, children learn what they should do to avoid getting sick while also learning and reinforcing necessary social skills.

 

In order to meet children’s social development needs, parents must find ways to teach social skills by providing children with creative opportunities for this. One way to start this is by parents role-playing social scenarios. This will be especially important since in-person social interactions will look different as daily activities resume. And while most families have continued to connect with extended family via video chats, parents should also have time set aside for virtual play dates or classes where children can interact with other adults and their peers.

 

 

Through the SKILLZ program, children around the world have continued to engage with their peers and instructors while under stay at home orders. Since SKILLZ focuses on developing the whole child, each class targets social skills that are appropriate for a certain age group. And while it’s a bit different now that classes are done virtually, instructors are still able create interactions between students and allow time to check in with them. Nurturing children’s social development, during this time, is vital in preparing them for interactions with others again.

 

While we don’t know, yet, what the long-term effects of social isolation on our children will look like, what we do know is that children will be different. To help mitigate any regression in social development, we must take the time now to form unity between parents and the community and invest in our children’s social growth. By doing this, we are preparing them for success and helping them feel confident in knowing how to interact with others in a safe, yet compassionate way.

 

Author: Jennifer Salama of Skillz Worldwide

Jennifer is a 4th-degree black belt and has been training in martial arts since 2001. She has a Masters Degree in Child Psychology and has embraced the SKILLZ curriculum because of its focus on child development and using martial arts as a vehicle to develop the child as a whole.