by: Michelle Dumovich
When making a difference in our clients’ lives with the elite tools of Pilates, we’re typically teaching adults, not the younger population. I have to say that, as teachers, we should be using our education to make sure the next generation becomes familiar with Pilates and the benefits—for years to come.
I started a quest to find kids from ages seven to 12 and see what reactions I would get teaching them Pilates on Balanced Body ARCs. I found that after three months, each and every student was having fun and building his or her core muscles. Making 10 kids do the Stomach Series isn’t easy but in the end, I can say that they now have a clue as to how important their core and flexibility are to their overall health and muscle development.
If Pilates teachers offer a fitness class for the youth it would keep our Pilates community growing stronger for years to come. Education for the young is also very vital today since obesity is growing every year in children as well as in adults.
Some tips for you to start a youth program in your community or Pilates center are listed below. It’s a boost for your Pilates soul when teaching kids the method They feel important as well as privileged to be a part of such elite training.
Simple Tips for Youth Pilates:
1. Make sure the teacher is certified in Pilates for at least a year and has a clean background with the law. You must know the teacher well enough and trust them with children and with the parents. Having CPR and AED certifications are a must as well.
2. Make sure the teacher or your facility has liability insurance. Some personal trainers do not feel the need to invest in this but, of course, it’s better to be safe rather than sorry.
3. Create an easy, kid-friendly format with verbiage children can understand. Use matwork and/or Pilates props that kids can hold like Pilates rings. I like using the ARCs.
4. Choose a time slot that coincides with the school schedule. I hold my class on Wednesday at 4:15 p.m. for 45 minutes. This allows time for the child to have a snack and get dressed for the class. Look into when school lets out and allow a window for fueling and changing.
5. Don’t worry if a child has a Pilates meltdown. Just as some adults go through their moments during an exercise, kids can have those same feelings; but in their case, a child may cry or cause a scene. Be professional and courteous to the child and make sure you have access to the parent.
6. Lastly, if your policy is to have a parent drop off the child, please make sure you have a sign-in sheet that forces all parents to sign their children in and out. Make sure you know who is coming to pick up the child and who is not allowed to pick up the child. Waivers to sign off on the minors to participate are a must, too.
I hope these simple tips can help you lead the next generation of future Pilates teachers. Do not let that passion you have as a teacher stop with you. Branch out to the next so we can ensure our current methods as teachers are passed down from the well educated and highly trained.
Here, my Youth Fitness Pilates Class is holding Plank. How cute and strong?!
Pilates master trainer Michelle Dumovich is the owner and founder of the M.D. Complete Fitness Inc. in Trinity, FL. Michelle has more than 15 years in the professional fitness and wellness industry under her belt, and has amassed a slew of certifications, including NASM-OPT, SMC Sports Medicine and Nutrition Certified with the National Academy of Sports Medicine; ACE; Pilates Master Instructor and Pilates Reformer Specialist; Neuromuscular Physiology and Integrated Human Movement Specialist; Power Plate Certified Specialist; Advanced Yoga; Cycling Certified; and Sports Conditioning & SAQ Specialist. Additionally, Michelle holds a Nutritional Consultant diploma with the International Institute of Holistic Healing. She spends her “spare” time doting on her wonderful husband and two children.
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