What is the Best Age For Kids to Learn Self-Defense?

A Short Guide: How To Determine What Age Is Ideal

More than a science, deciding on what age to teach your child self-defense is more of a parental instinct and only you as their parent will know when your child is prepared to take this step. What can help you in this decision is a short guideline below which emphasizes some of our children’s behavior that more qualifies them to learn self defense.

You will know if your kids are ready for self-defense lessons if :

  • They can clearly identify right from wrong and talk about either while expressing their thoughts and views on it.
  • They can handle their little brother, sister, cousin or friend ripping their favorite toy out of their hand without throwing a fit, tantrum or attacking them back for that toy.
  • They understand what danger or violence means (and I’m hoping here it’s only on television). Heck, even the old cartoon Tom & Jerry qualifies with the amount of beating up there! The reason for this point is to highlight that our kids sadly are exposed to violence even in kiddie animations or cartoons and teaching them about an attacker being violent won’t be a new concept to them
  • They understand the concept of good-guy, bad-guy in a movie. My son is a huge fan of The Avengers & Marvel, and would often ask me why is Spider-man hitting Green Goblin? Or why are they chasing and shooting at Hulk? In my case, yes, he now understands good and bad guys, BUT, while he kept asking me the same ‘why’ question and didn’t move onto a ‘what did he do wrong mom’ type of question, I knew he wasn’t ready for anything just yet. – See, parental instinct right there 🙂

Should Children Learn Self-Defense In The First Place?

Considering the alarming rate and increase in child trafficking globally, our kids should have the option of being prepared for a worst-case scenario and it’s our duty as parents to teach them some plan of action, whether it be self-defense or just outsmarting an attacker whenever they notice something out of the ordinary.

So, my answer to this question is a yes, but of course to each his own.

As always, we all have a purpose for why we do something, and in this case, we’re obviously concerned about our precious child’s safety and want to ensure that we, as parents have control over that as much as possible. The scary bit here is that we’re actually starting to accept the reality of our children being in a cruel world and are literally prepared to hand over some of that control by equipping our children to protect themselves in either our inevitable absence or unreachable distance.

What are the Advantages of Teaching Our Children Self Defense ?

1. Children see this world for what it really is.

We take the candy-coating off from this real world and kids will see bad people for who they really are by the things they do.

2. We teach our kids to be more responsible for themselves.

We give our children the opportunity to learn vigilance, attention to detail of their surroundings and some responsibility of their own in our absence.

3. Our child has a plan Of action when faced with danger

Children have a Plan Of Action for those God-forbid moments and are able to remain calm and follow the drill to get out of danger quick.

4. Our children don’t just succumb to evil but fight for what’s right

As parents, we prepare and give our children a fighting chance at any danger that awaits that attacks them, this could be the preparation that saves their life.

5. Kids could learn the importance of fitness and health as a result

Self defense programs can contribute to your child’s fitness, understanding of their body’s ability and dietary requirements, and it could become a healthy hobby.


Saying the above, it’s more often than not that the younger our children are the less they’re out of our sight or need formal self defense training. As children grow older in understanding, they may be introduced into more advanced stages of learning self defense. Ultimately, only you as their parents, who understand them the best, can put a number to that age depending on your family circumstances like daycare and school etc. Not even an expert Martial Art instructor or Self-Defense Guru or even the President can make this call.

It is our role as parents firstly, (before even teaching our little one’s self defense) to ensure that we don’t take our children’s safety for granted, to be extra perceptive and protect our children from any possible compromising situations and do whatever it takes to stay vigilant as their guardian and heroes!

Jolene Rheault

Jolene works as a marketing professional but full-time as a mom. She lives in Highlands Ranch, CO with her 7-year-old son, husband, 2 cats, and a bearded dragon named Jerry.

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