For Parents Developing other interests besides gymnastics

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This might belong in off topic. I’m not a gymnastics parent or even a parent at all. I was never a competitive gymnast. I was too shy and didn’t like wearing a leotard. I still spent a lot of my young adult life thinking about gymnastics and watching it. It was the biggest interest in my life. I didn’t realize until I was in my mid to late twenties my love for the outdoors (animals, gardening, landscaping). I feel like if I had developed these other interests earlier I would have coped better with some of the troubles that came about in my life and maybe even prevented some of them. What I wanted to ask the parents here is do you encourage your child to develop other interests outside of gymnastics?
 

Lucia

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My daughter is only 8, but for us this has meant supporting and encouraging meaningful relationships in her life that exist outside of gymnastics. We have a large, close extending family as well as close relationships with our church community. She also has a close friendship group that exists separate from gym, and we frequently hike, play etc with these friends. As far as organized activities, we are involved with 4H, but I want to leave margins for downtime/just being a kid, so I don't actively encourage her to pursue other interests as much as I "make room" for her to explore, daydream, be creative etc. All my kids did swimming lessons this summer, and she did love it and ask to sign up for multiple sessions. She considered if she would want to do it more seriously (ie swim team). While I didn't really think it would be feasible for her to commit to these two team sports, I let her ruminate on this and she came to the conclusion that she just wanted to swim for the joy of it. She is naturally driven, so for her to realize that she could chose an activity for pure enjoyment without scores etc being a part of the picture is very healthy. She is aware that she is currently progressing well as a gymnast, but this won't be the case all the time...I want her to know that whether she is having a good or a rough season, her identity is larger than gymnastics. I hope I'm laying ground work now for a well rounded, resilient young person so when the hours increase, the going gets rough, etc, she knows that gymnastics does not define who she is as a person. I was a competitive gymnast over 30 years ago, and when I had to quit as a teen, I thought my life was over. While it's natural to grieve, I didn't have a sense of who I was outside of this and made some unhealthy choices for a while. Lastly, while I think she is amazing at what she does and love gymnastics, I try really hard to praise her for being a good friend/team mate, hard worker, etc, instead of praising her skills. I want her to choose gym for her, not for anyone else.
 

DTAG

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My son is 9. Gymnastics is the only sport he is involved in, his choice. He does enjoy playing outside and will catch a ball, and loves to swim, he just doesn’t want to devote much time to those. Now he does LOVE anime, Pokémon, Minecraft, etc… This is what takes up the bulk of his time, outside of the gym. Honestly I have never been into anime or anything like that and I don’t get it, but I do support him because he does love it. Oh and he is a Cub Scout as well!
 

JBS

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What I wanted to ask the parents here is do you encourage your child to develop other interests outside of gymnastics?
Yes... definitely other things.

My kids are all competitive gymnasts... so the other things that we do are not competitive... but they are other things.

Some things we do...
  • Slalom ski & wakeboard
  • Learn about anything (like remodeling a house)
  • Grill & cook (each of our kids makes dinner 1 time per week in the summer)
  • Model trains / RC stuff (G scale model trains... Traxxas trucks... drones... slot cars... etc... etc)
 

raenndrops

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My girls have been given the opportunity to try whatever they wanted:
soccer, softball, basketball, volleyball, cheer, girl scouts, church youth group, choir, and band. We almost had OG convinced to give football a try (several football players saw how good she was when she was in a pick up game in our back yard ... and they almost had her convinced), but she was only willing to go as far as the homecoming powder puff game.
 
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JBS - My dad loved model trains. It’s good to hear that you teach your kids to grill and cook. I wish I learned this as a kid. I wish I learned a lot of the basic old fashioned things like cooking, carpentry, and growing your own food.
 

skschlag

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My gymnast son has always had some outside interests. He loves to rock climb and hike. He loves to go hammocking and play board games. He loves music and concerts, and has dabbled in guitar. Most of all, he has just had time to be a teen, and hang out with friends and do all the things, prom, homecomings, hang out, bonfires, etc. To me, that was the most important thing!
 

PreciousJ

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Gymnastics started as an "other interest" for DD, so it makes sense that we continue to introduce other activities. She's in Xcel, so she has time for other things. She's actually at music camp right now, learning the keyboard. She also likes art and reading, and has done basketball at the same time as preteam a couple of years ago. With middle school starting soon, she'll have new opportunities to explore. We'll see how this all plays out, but I fully expect her to choose other activities over gym down the road, and that's fine with us.