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GymMomDE

New Member
Mar 27, 2022
4
42
Hello gym parents! I’m very much a newbie in this world and I would really love some words of wisdom and/or encouragement, especially from those who may have had kids take multiple paths. My six year old made Pre-Team back in spring (at age 5), which at our gym, is basically a small group of 4-6 year olds chosen to develop skills necessary for competitive gymnastics. It’s twice a week for 1.5 hours ($200/month).

She had a really rocky start. After just a couple weeks, I got a call from the gym and realized that she was basically crying through the classes and refusing to participate. We had some long chats and she decided to give it another try. This time she ended up acclimating, warming up to the other kids and coaches and doing alright. Still we’ve had at least one call since then about her having another breakdown, which she usually blames on something like the foot strap being too tight, but when I probe, she says, “I feel stressed when I can’t do things.”

She’s truly an outlier in the group - almost a foot taller than the other kids with a heavy build. I already notice her struggling to do things that come naturally to the rest of the group (splits, cartwheels, bridges). I’m worried that despite her perseverance, it’s damaging her self-esteem because she can’t physically keep up, despite how many growth-mindset pep talks I give her or the effort she tries to put in.

Everyone in our family keeps questioning why on earth she’s doing gymnastics when there are so many sports she might excel at and I feel kind of stuck. It’s also a big stretch for us time wise, since I’m a teacher and it means long nights and a commute on top of early mornings (I have a three year old as well). When I last asked her about trying a different sport, she said, “Gymnastics is my thing and I like the stickers at the end.”

Do I listen to a six year old or do I make an adult decision on her behalf, pull the plug and redirect her to a different sport? I’ll try my best to support her either way. I’d love to hear from parents that have been in a similar spot, had to make the choice and what the consequences/outcomes were.

Thank you in advance! ❤️
 

JPC13

Proud Parent
Mar 25, 2022
185
I’d be watching those practices if I was you. Your decision would be much clearer if you observed for yourself what’s going on. With they said, my daughter has had some real struggles at gym and never ONCE cried. That’s a serious signal that something isn’t right.
 

mommyof1

Proud Parent
Jan 31, 2012
2,539
The car
If the sport is a huge drain on your time and resources now, it will only get worse as she moves up the levels. If she is still crying during practice it makes zero sense for the rest of the family to make those sacrifices. I'd pull her from gymnastics and have her try another sport. I would not move her back to rec because in my experience high-quality rec gymnastics classes are very rare, and even the best ones are pretty much a dead end. I would focus on a sport that she truly enjoys and can eventually compete in if she chooses, preferably one that she can do recreationally into adulthood.
 

GymMomDE

New Member
Mar 27, 2022
4
42
Thank you all so much for your wisdom! I think you’re confirming my gut intuition, but it’s great to hear from those with more experience in the sport. She has the option of taking a free acro/tumbling class at our family gym (just for fun) and I’m thinking we’ll sign her up for swim lessons and field hockey to try something new. Thank you, again - this definitely helps me feel much more confident in making the final decision.
 

Ajoy

New Member
Jan 23, 2021
11
Hello gym parents! I’m very much a newbie in this world and I would really love some words of wisdom and/or encouragement, especially from those who may have had kids take multiple paths. My six year old made Pre-Team back in spring (at age 5), which at our gym, is basically a small group of 4-6 year olds chosen to develop skills necessary for competitive gymnastics. It’s twice a week for 1.5 hours ($200/month).

She had a really rocky start. After just a couple weeks, I got a call from the gym and realized that she was basically crying through the classes and refusing to participate. We had some long chats and she decided to give it another try. This time she ended up acclimating, warming up to the other kids and coaches and doing alright. Still we’ve had at least one call since then about her having another breakdown, which she usually blames on something like the foot strap being too tight, but when I probe, she says, “I feel stressed when I can’t do things.”

She’s truly an outlier in the group - almost a foot taller than the other kids with a heavy build. I already notice her struggling to do things that come naturally to the rest of the group (splits, cartwheels, bridges). I’m worried that despite her perseverance, it’s damaging her self-esteem because she can’t physically keep up, despite how many growth-mindset pep talks I give her or the effort she tries to put in.

Everyone in our family keeps questioning why on earth she’s doing gymnastics when there are so many sports she might excel at and I feel kind of stuck. It’s also a big stretch for us time wise, since I’m a teacher and it means long nights and a commute on top of early mornings (I have a three year old as well). When I last asked her about trying a different sport, she said, “Gymnastics is my thing and I like the stickers at the end.”

Do I listen to a six year old or do I make an adult decision on her behalf, pull the plug and redirect her to a different sport? I’ll try my best to support her either way. I’d love to hear from parents that have been in a similar spot, had to make the choice and what the consequences/outcomes were.

Thank you in advance! ❤️
 

Tammie

Member
Jul 22, 2022
90
44
I'm wondering why you cannot do both, follow her AND make an adult decision.

Since gymnastics is 2days/wk, maybe one day/wk she could do swimming or hockey or softball or dance or music or art or chess or ....

Maybe with a bit of exposure, she will come to realize that gymnastics isn't really her thing!! Maybe she will see that she is not crying in other sports, is able to excel and be happy :)

While you're at it, buy her a pack of stickers, give her one at the end of every day-obviously stickers mean alot to her!!

Then after a month or 2, if she doesn't come to the conclusion on her own, then maybe it is time to make a decision for her, but it would honestly be better if she can come to it on her own-especially after you asked her.

I mean, I would feel pretty awful if someone asked me how I felt about a sport, I told them I loved it, then they removed me from said sport the next week-completely disregarding my feelings and thoughts on the matter!!
 

ReluctantGymMom

Proud Parent
May 11, 2020
290
32
You shouldn’t focus on her height and build - plenty of tall girls and stockier built girls in optionals. All the other girls might be tiny stick figures right now but they won’t be after puberty (for the most part).

That being said, she’s 6 and she’s in preteam. You’re not at the stage of being commited to the sport because your kid loves it despite it taking up all your time and resources. When my daughter was 6 and had practice 2 days a week, we put her into a variety of other sports on other days to try to expose her to other options and see if she’ll move - we did tennis, dance, swimming, karate. Now is the perfect time to try other sports because you’re not trapped at the gym 5 days a week yet.

Explore other options, see if she likes anything else better.

The crying is a red flag that she personally might not like competitive gymnastics. Preteam is boring work - it’s not skill acquisition, it’s repetition. Rec is more fun based. Not every kid wants to condition and work on shapes - and that’s fine! But better to find out before you’re sunk a ton of money into meet fees and leotards
 

MuggleMom

Proud Parent
Dec 22, 2016
782
Virginia
My kid had some anxiety issues with gym in levels 3/4 that definitely led to tears. We almost quit but she also really loved gym. We had to figure out what her stressers were and work with the coaches to ease up on her on those specific things and it resolved the issues. It was a tough call though and multiple times I almost pulled the plug but honestly that upset her more than whatever was upsetting her at gym. All that to say is sometimes tears aren't the red flag you need to quit but are the red flag for a course correction of sorts. You know your daughter best so listen to your gut!

Given she is only on preteam right now and only doing 3 hours a week I would find a fun supplemental thing she can do (and still do gym) to see if maybe she won't give it up on her own or maybe realize that she doesn't need to cry about gym? Dance could be a good thing and you can even tell her it helps a lot with gymnastics (especially floor) thats how I got my kid to do it at that age and she enjoyed it but ultimately stuck with gym. Any other sports too you can point out to her can be a "fun" outlet but will still help her with gymnastics by building strength endurance and confidence. Getting her to try new things sometimes depends on how you "spin" it to your kid.

I think trying new things will help her see if gym is really "her thing" or if shes just worried that nothing else will be "her thing"
 

GymMomDE

New Member
Mar 27, 2022
4
42
Thank you all again for all your amazing advice. ❤️ You all brought up so many aspects I hadn’t really considered. I had made up my mind, but then we walked back into the gym after a week off for vacation and my daughter immediately got hugs and high fives. Everyone knows her name. They also recently switched up her coach, which has been positive and she’s been asking to bring the coach artwork and notes each class, so they’ve formed a bond. She’s also made a new friend in the last couple weeks. I brought up the idea about switching activities with her again and it finally sunk in that I was talking about quitting gymnastics and her face just crumpled.

And so, we’re plowing on. They announced the new fall schedule with different days and four hours a week, which meant switching up her sister’s dance schedule, but we’re going to do it and just take it step by step. I’m also heading the advice to add on extra activities now & planning to do swim as well as another sport or instrument to broaden her horizons and let her explore other options.

Thank you again and I’ll follow up on this post if it helps anyone in a similar bind. This is a great community & I’m happy to have stumbled upon it. ❤️
 

sw2017

New Member
Aug 1, 2022
14
29
The great thing about pre-team is it gives a child an idea of what team practices are like (more structured, challenging, and longer than rec classes). Your daughter gets to see if the competitive route is right for her, but it sounds like it’s not. Try putting her back in rec classes or sign up for swim
 
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Caesarea

New Member
Aug 11, 2022
20
United States of America
Canada has an amazing initiative called Sport for Life. All children should learn to "run, swim and gym" (I admit, I never learned to swim when I was a child) before committing to a sport. Swimming lessons -- ABSOLUTELY! I would also make sure that you're giving her foundational skills for various sports, so that she can make a better decision about what to commit to and see what she likes. In addition to swim lessons, I would consider soccer or softball, more group-oriented team "ball" sports. And definitely some artistic pursuit as well, such as an instrument or theater or drawing, although these should probably wait until she's a bit older (around 7-8 years is a good place to start).

As far as gymnastics goes, she should not be crying. In your situation, it seems like it's already a drain on your time and she's only doing three hours a week. It will only increase. I would find something else for her to do, but ask her first. If she says, "Please give me another chance!" make it clear that she needs to be participating and not crying at practice, because "Mom doesn't like it when I see you sad."

Don't enroll her in soccer and swimming and piano and dance and volleyball all at once. That's way too much. Start by trying one or two additional activities, and go from there. She doesn't have to do every activity year-round -- be a multi-sport athlete, have an off-season for each, do different sports, it's better for your body and your brain.
 
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GymMomDE

New Member
Mar 27, 2022
4
42
Canada has an amazing initiative called Sport for Life. All children should learn to "run, swim and gym" (I admit, I never learned to swim when I was a child) before committing to a sport. Swimming lessons -- ABSOLUTELY! I would also make sure that you're giving her foundational skills for various sports, so that she can make a better decision about what to commit to and see what she likes. In addition to swim lessons, I would consider soccer or softball, more group-oriented team "ball" sports. And definitely some artistic pursuit as well, such as an instrument or theater or drawing, although these should probably wait until she's a bit older (around 7-8 years is a good place to start).

As far as gymnastics goes, she should not be crying. In your situation, it seems like it's already a drain on your time and she's only doing three hours a week. It will only increase. I would find something else for her to do, but ask her first. If she says, "Please give me another chance!" make it clear that she needs to be participating and not crying at practice, because "Mom doesn't like it when I see you sad."

Don't enroll her in soccer and swimming and piano and dance and volleyball all at once. That's way too much. Start by trying one or two additional activities, and go from there. She doesn't have to do every activity year-round -- be a multi-sport athlete, have an off-season for each, do different sports, it's better for your body and your brain.
Thank you! Great advice. ❤️ We’ve had lots of chats recently and she’s very adamant about staying in gym. She does not even want to add on a free dance or tumbling class that are available at our family gym. As a bit of context, our fam went through a big move last fall and she had been at the same gym for rec for years since she was a toddler. It was already a change coming to a new city, then gym, then getting put in a new class and she’s a pretty sensitive kid that’s never loved transitions. Now that she’s feeling more comfortable she doesn’t want to mix it up much, but is definitely 100% interested in swim since she spent so much time teaching herself in our club pool this summer.

I definitely agree that hitting all types of sports & also creative outlets is optimal but I don’t want to overload her all at once (like you said). I think we’ll stick with gymnastics as long as she is happy and we can sustain it in our schedule, add in swim and then maybe try to switch swim out for another sport in another season. Whew! And we have second child too. I may have to start another thread to ask how families deal with multiple kids in sports/activities. LOL I am married but my husband is in high stress corporate job with no bandwidth, I work full-time and we have no family network/nanny/sitter. But that’s a different story
 

Caesarea

New Member
Aug 11, 2022
20
United States of America
I definitely agree that hitting all types of sports & also creative outlets is optimal but I don’t want to overload her all at once (like you said). I think we’ll stick with gymnastics as long as she is happy and we can sustain it in our schedule, add in swim and then maybe try to switch swim out for another sport in another season. Whew! And we have second child too. I may have to start another thread to ask how families deal with multiple kids in sports/activities. LOL I am married but my husband is in high stress corporate job with no bandwidth, I work full-time and we have no family network/nanny/sitter. But that’s a different story
Yes, switch out the different sports in different seasons, this will be good for her at her young age to leave her lots of unstructured, outdoor play time. The younger child is probably going to need a lot of love and attention.

What do you mean, "no bandwidth" for your husband? Luckily, you're a teacher and summers mean less work (mostly curriculum and planning). But the school year, with grading and just being at the school, it can get super tiring super fast.
 
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GymMomStarQuest29

Proud Parent
Jan 9, 2022
47
Absolutely do not go down the road if it’s this much trouble now. Parent here of a 9 year old who has excelled in gymnastics, very few years, and we are ar 20 hours a week this summer and after $15k or so, quitting. I have another child who does swim team and the experience as a whole was so much better for everyone. Get out while you can and don’t look back. And I know it’s hard, I struggled to not pull my daughter when she was loving it, but she doesn’t love it anymore because, burnout. Get out while you can. Hit up swimoutlet.com, it’s your friend.
 
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