Are parents allowed to watch?

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Sep 23, 2009
I'm just curious as to what other gyms policy is for allowing parents to watch. As of now, my gym allows parents to stay. The problem I find is that many try coaching through the window or from the second floor! I think it might be a distraction and there are some kids who turn around to get mom or dads reaction after each skill. We are making some renovations and are thinking of a 2 way mirror.. parents can still see, but kids won't be distracted. Is this a good idea?
Feb 26, 2007
Not at our gym, we have no area for it as the gym is so tiny. We can go for the last 30 minutes but then it's like sardines and you usually see just conditioning anyway.

I figure parents don't watch at school so they'll survive not watching at gym. Our coaches will always let a child show a new skill at the end of a course to their parents.

For the tinies, 3-5's, parents can stay and watch but they have to sit around the edges of the floor due to space. That helps both with toilet issues and with tears etc.

I have seen, and heard, some very funny stuff. Some parents just cannot keep quiet and refrain from signalling. This can be dangerous and really doesn't help the child. Two way glass sounds perfect. Alternatively a window with a blind on the gym side so it can be closed if issues arise. Some gyms I know have watching days each month so that parents can see progress.

I really only see my girls do gyms at comps, it was only an issue when they were little, now they are 10 and 13 I really don't mind.


Moderator/Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2007
North Carolina
Parents are allowed to watch at our gym through a window. Kids are allowed to bring parent out to the gym to show a new skill @ the end. Most don't do a lot if coaching of their kids. There is a sign asking parents to refrain from coaching the kids.

Normally just some thumbs up through the window. Most are there only at the end of practice (team). Rec classes are only an hour so those parents stay.

I think tbe mirror glass sounds like a great idea
At our gym, rec parents stay to watch, but watching by team parents is actively discouraged. The parents of the *hot shots* stay, for the most part, as the children are younger, and there for only 2 hours.

Our parent handbook requests that if we'd like to watch, we contact the coach in advance to set something up. I know many of the parents will come 10-15 minutes early at pick-up, just to watch a bit, but since Bean's been involved in a carpool for so long, I haven't had that opportunity. I have, however, gone in 3 or 4 times in the past 3 years, and twice even taped most of the training, with no issue.

From what the coach told me when we first joined the gym, there are a number of reasons for not wanting parents there all of the time. One being that they tend to get over involved, and the sideline coaching becomes an issue. Two, they often end up comparing the progress of the girls, which doesn't benefit anyone. Three, one negative parent can infect a whole gym with negativity.

I prefer not to watch, and be surprised at competiton time! The times I've gone in, have been at the request of Bean, when she's truly excited by a new skill!

I think if you're going to have parents watching with any regularity, the mirrored glass is the way to go.
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We have actual bleachers that the parents can sit on and watch--right there in the gym (not through a window). I like it. So far I haven't seen any parents abusing the privilege by trying to coach their child or get their attention--I'm sure it happens though--at least on the rec level. I know it's mentioned in their packet of information given out at each session that it's a safety hazard for parents to be talking to their kids during class.

Granny Smith

Proud Parent
Jun 21, 2007
Aww man, I lost my last post.....

Yes parents are allowed to watch. It is encouraged that we do it on Saturday rather than during the week because of space and the rec parents vying for the same windows that team parents would look out of (Sat. team is there by themselves in the afternoon). We have an upstairs observation area, enclosed in glass. I tend to come back to pick up about an hour before training ends. I see what's she's doing and also just to talk to my other gym mom friends.

I do get the occasional, did you see that from her and I'll give her a thumb's up or something. We don't have full blown conversations or sign to each other (which I know has been done) or anything like that. As dd has gotten older, she has looked up less. This is also something she had/has to teach herself. She needs to tune out the observation area, whether I'm there or not. She is fully aware that if she is looking up at me, that could get her in trouble - so do it minimally, if it all! ;)


We have the window setup at our gym too and parents are permitted to stay and watch. It is way too crowded during weeknights, though, due lots of rec parents and their other children in the viewing area so most team parents do not stay. I usually get there about an hour to half hour before gym ends but usually get to see only strength (about as interesting as watching paint dry). As in Granny's gym, Saturday afternoons are the best day to watch because our compulsories are the only ones in the gym.



Proud Parent
Apr 14, 2009
Region 8
We are not allowed to watch at all. We have two gyms, one gym for Rec and one gym for team. In fact, us team parents are encouraged to drop our girls off at the door and not even come inside. This doesn't sit well with me but will really only go inside on Saturdays so I don't rock the boat.
They did let me video her new floor routine last Thursday. I was shocked that they let me do that. LOL

Midget's Dad

We have an observation area upstairs, as well as bleachers you can sit at if the big roll up doors are open.

Mostly the parents are very good about keeping quiet, but I know the HC has had to talk with some of "those parents" before for trying to coach from the balcony.

I think it is kind of cool mostly because when someone nails a new skill they tend to get cheered for by everyone. But it gets hot as can be up there, and that is awful.


We have an area upstairs designated for parents. There are 2 sets of bleachers, which no one usually sits on because we're all around the wall! :rolleyes: I like to watch but haven't been doing it as much as in previous years. My ds hates to be in the gym while she's practicing so we try to go visit family or do some shopping. There are parents that yell out to their kids which of course is a big no-no. They do get told about it, however. I think the 2 way glass is a great idea!
Our gym has a balcony with bleechers and an open view of the entire gym floor. The only "Policy" is you can't stand and watch from the floor level entry way. That would be disruptive. Even we parents give friendly nudges to the others that don't fully understand this guideline.

Honestly, i didn't see much parental coaching other then the occasional hand wave to assure the gymmie that her talents are being noticed. And even this is rare.

Mostly the parents (99% of the time, It's Mom) are reading, "working" on laptop computers (updating facebook pages most likely), or queitly talking with other parents. The dad's seem to spend most of the time counting light fixtures.

I can't recall witnessing much in the way of interference from the viewing area. Personally, I don't think I would join a gym that didn't provide an option to watch my DD - undisruptively.
Sep 19, 2008
At my gym the rec and compulsory level parents can stay and watch. I don't honestly know if there's a rule about optionals parents not staying or if the parents just figure the girls have it figured out by then and are ok. We have a large lobby viewing area and an upstairs one as well.

I like it when parents stay to watch 99.99999(repeating of course) percent of the time. They usually sit in the same spot, so if their child gets a new skill they know exactly where to turn to see mom or dad and clap or give a thumbs up. I enjoy turning that direction and smiling like an idiot and celebrating as well lol. I do make it a point to get to know the parents as best I can, and the ones that stay for practice make that a bit easier. If we're passing by the windows and I make eye contact with a parent they usually get a thumbs up or some other assertion that all is well. Sometimes they pop their heads through the door and ask if everything is ok if they notice their child is not paying attention or something minor. I usually just say 'yup!' because at that point the gymnast knows me and mom/dad are communicating and figure it's best to behave!

One instance I did not enjoy it was when a mom came out onto the floor from the lobby to lecture me about why I should have helped her child first. We were doing bridge kickovers and I was going down a line and spotting each child on their first one since they were still somewhat new to the skill. Her daughter wasn't the first in the line and boy did I hear about it.

The other is when I went to a different gym with a friend of mine who's daughter is a L4. Their viewing area was a bench actually in the gym, which I don't think is ideal but hey whatever when in Rome... Her daughter fell going really big on a split leap and my friend actually got up to go to her. I got up, hooked my arm through hers and steered her away while begging her to let her coach handle it. She's a super sweet lady and of course has great intentions, but her daughter wasn't hurt and was recovering well and practicing again instantly. After taking a moment to see that from a greater distance she figured walking up probably would have let her anxiety rub off on her daughter and was glad she didn't get involved. We spent the rest of the practice in the lobby where she showed me team photos and such.
Sep 8, 2007
Yes we can stay they have an upstairs balcony ,but you have to stand to see .So generally it is a lots of rec. parents and few team parents mostly L2-L4.I used to watch alot ,but now it is usually an 1hr a week I love to watch and talk to the parents.There have been a few parents that would try to coach and talk to there kids,but most of them are now gone.I would have a hard time if I was not allowed to watch.


Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
I think mirror glass is a great idea. DDs gym has a separate room for beam and there is a little viewing room. I usually am knitting when she is doing gym, but I like to peek up once in a while. I usually skip watching her on beam because I feel that the viewing room is too close and a distraction. DD no longer looks to me when she does stuff, but some of the girls do and I think they lose focus.

I have seen moms signaling kids, etc. My DD even came home one day and said, "Mom, XX's mom puts too much pressure on her, she was making faces at her through the window today, she needs more patience." LOL. I wish they would put mirror glass in there. I think it would benefit the girls and keep parents that distract the girls from doing so.

There is no policy at DDs gym. I would never coach from the sidelines. I am there many times to save money on gas, but I knit or talk to other parents or read.

I would have issues with being told I couldn't watch though. I would wonder what was going on, etc. DDs gym has windows everywhere into the main gym, there is seating available outside, but you can see everything. I wouldn't feel comfortable NOT being able to see anything.

I can totally understand that it can cause issues, especially with parents that are very pushy, etc. I think coaches should have a talk with those parents instead of punishing everyone. Like I said, I don't watch her practice even though I am there, but I do like to look up every once in awhile and see what they are doing. :)


Jul 5, 2007
I'm extremely uncomfortable with the idea of watching being outright "banned" (i.e. for reasons other than practicality, general space limitations). There is no reason, in fact I believe it should be actively avoided, that extensive time be spent alone during workouts with any kids, without other adults around.

I don't really think it compares to a classroom setting. There are other adults who aren't currently teaching wandering all over schools. Actually the school system I recently graduated from, the teachers aren't supposed to close doors as a general rule - it must be opened at least a crack, and even that degree is discouraged - generally they want the doors open enough to see into, even with high schoolers.

Some gyms just don't have that many other adults in the gym during team workout. Also, I'm just going to throw this out there, having done gymnastics myself, more negative experiences in a competitive gymnastics setting than in a public school classroom. Obviously there are a lot of variables there. I'm saying I wouldn't leave any child I was responsible for at a gym that wasn't just trying to get me to see practically why constant watching is not a good idea (I am so 3000000% in agreement with that) but told me I could not supervise that child. Nope. Not okay with that. It is certainly not unheard of in the US, but it's "not standard" enough that I'd go find another gym that let me watch. Probably wouldn't even work at a gym with such a rule. I can't offhand think of any gyms in my state where watching is completely banned anyway.

People who are causing disruptions should be dealt with. I think banning everyone is draconian though. There is a significant minority of people who need to be dealt with, but honestly I do not think the situation really warrants some kind of covert CIA nonsense. This is gymnastics, not special operations training. Of course parents can watch.

Also, I know people will say in other activities, like ballet, no watching. This seems to be true, but I'm just going to say, one of my worst experiences with activities, when I was a very little kid, doing ballet in some windowless room with a mean teacher who would turn out the lights to complete darkness when she deemed the preschoolers unruly, yelled, etc, once ended class right in the middle and stormed out. Not a great experience.


We live 30 minutes away, so I usually stay out in the area of the gym. I try to run errands, treat myself to dinner or get my nails done. I try to only sit at the gym for the last hour. I can usually fill up the other two hours.

We do a have a large viewing area. Most team parents do not stay, but there are a few that always do and others that show up the last 15 -30 min.. Our gym is large so would be hard for the kids to hear their parents coaching them, but I do see some that try. My DD loves when I am there, but if we lived closer I would rarely be there.


Proud Parent
Mar 6, 2009
Our old gym had no windows at all. They opened the door and lets parents watch the last 15 minutes of classes/ practice etc from a designated area

Our current gym has a window

There is a sign on the window that says no coaching . . . not that it seems to help.

Parents are encouraged, especially team, not to stay. There may even be a rule about being there only the first and last 15 minutes . . .

Anyway, these parents crowd the window and drive me crazy. Many come and have younger siblings running around a very small waiting room while they try to watch.

I have to say at our gym it doesn't seem to distract the kids - but the parents . . . oy vay . . . you hear them after, so and so did it - and you didn't even try. I was watching you, you're not focused . . . sigh it goes on and on.

As much as I enjoy taking a peek - maybe everyone is better off with no window - or a window with a shade - only open in the first and last 30 minutes
Last edited:
Sep 23, 2009
Don't get me wrong, I think parents should be able to see inside, but maybe we need stricter rules! It makes sense for parents to stay They are the ones paying, they should see what going on. It just makes me sad for the kids who have to turn and get approval after finishing a routine or skill. This is much more than the child being excited to show off a new skill, which we always encourage. It is more like they know their parents are comparing why their kid isn't working as hard or learning a skill as fast. Also, rec classes is where our gym is having the most trouble, so we will see how the mirror goes over. Thanks everyone for the replies :)


Mar 29, 2009
North Carolina
Our parents are aloud to watch...i think it would be cruel otherwise! We have an upstairs area for parents with chairs and a few tables, and toys for little kids to play with while they are waiting and a T.V. (for my coaches kids to watch...they are ages 5 and not even 1!). but my parents don't usually come watch, though. Yes, the 2 way glass does sound like a good idea, but as a gymnast, i would like to be able to see if my mom is watching when she does come, i usually have to yell for her because she is always grading papers or something! (she's a teacher :))
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