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Morgan

Hi Everyone! So glad I found this forum. I have a super athletic 4 year old boy. He started breakdancing at three after watching YouTube breakdancing tutorials. He had a beautiful headspin when I asked his pediatrician about spending so much time on his head. He told me he needed to stop due to possible neck injuries. I thought gymnastics would be the closest "safe" route for him. After a lot of searching I found a gym with a men's competitive team and some incredible coaches. He's on the wait-list for what is essentially preteam and doing private lessons weekly for the summer. He has pullover/back hip circle, working on handsprings and not falling over on handstands, he can do a headstand but again, I was told to try to get him off his head so I'm not sure that's good. I am happy we have a place for him and he has a set of skills he can work on.

The only thing I wonder about is his age. He is so young (turned 4 in Feb) and he just wants to show people his "tricks.". He is a smart boy. He loves bugs, he is starting to sound words out, loves Legos and horses. He is absolutely full of potential as far as a gymnast. No one would ever question that and I'll do everything I can to help him reach his dreams. But he has all these other great qualities too. How do we help these kids find themselves when they are so focussed on these specific skills?

My other question is in regards to development. The gym he's at trains lots of boys and I know they know what they're doing. But after he goes there (one class and one hour of private a week....I should add he also does parkour one hour a week) he is home doing bar and rings in the backyard for hours a day. Basically, are there are other four year olds doing this much physical activity? The ped said gymnastics is okay but I wonder about the amount of time he's doing it. In terms of development is this too much?

Thanks for any advice. I've lurked a bit over this past 6 months or so and im so happy to be here. We are now spending a lot of time and thought on gymnastics so it's great to have a place to talk about that!
 

skschlag

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Jul 19, 2011
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Welcome!

I had a very active 4 year old as well. From 3-8 (and longer), we really had him explore lots of sports, and that helped. So while he did his gymnastics each week, (1-2 hours IIRC), he also did soccer, basketball, baseball, wresting, swimming, ice skating, hiking, rock climbing, biking, tennis, skiing etc. Basically anything we could sign up for or do on our own to get the energy out. (1 other activity at a time)

We also encouraged library visits, reading, really, anything that we could do to keep him busy.

We also encouraged lots of just playing with neighborhood kids.

He did not have rings or bars at home. Sometimes he would do things in the grass or at the park, but we did not have any gym equipment at home.

Good luck! Gymnastics has been great for many boys, but remember, it is a marathon! if he is to stick with it long term, encourage him now to do lots of other things. Gymnastics can become all-consuming way too fast, and that isn't necessarily a good thing.

I've been around this sport for quite a while :) Welcome to men's gymnastics!
 

Scream4IceCream

Proud Parent
Apr 19, 2018
53
I would put him in swimming. It’s an essential life skill that is very complementary with gymnastics (a good aerobic workout without the pounding on the joints). Outside of athletics, at that age my kids loved magnatiles, legos, stem projects like Kiwi Crates, and Brain Pop Jr. (and still enjoy many of these activities).
 

gymgal

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Aug 22, 2008
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welcome! I think what you're experiencing is fairly normal for young active kids. I wouldn't be too concerned about it. If he is having difficulty focusing on more structured, seated tasks, I would start working on that little by little to get him ready for school and for focusing better in the gym (there is a lot of waiting for your turn, needing to focus on coach directions, etc. If you think he has a future in gymnastics, I would start restricting what he is allowed to do at home. This will help as he progresses in more advanced skills that he should on;y be doing in the gym and it will want him wanting gym practice more - you always want them wanting more, not getting so much of it at home that they get bored of it. Getting him involved in other activities will give him opportunities to explore other sports and activities he may like.
 
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Morgan

welcome! I think what you're experiencing is fairly normal for young active kids. I wouldn't be too concerned about it. If he is having difficulty focusing on more structured, seated tasks, I would start working on that little by little to get him ready for school and for focusing better in the gym (there is a lot of waiting for your turn, needing to focus on coach directions, etc. If you think he has a future in gymnastics, I would start restricting what he is allowed to do at home. This will help as he progresses in more advanced skills that he should on;y be doing in the gym and it will want him wanting gym practice more - you always want them wanting more, not getting so much of it at home that they get bored of it. Getting him involved in other activities will give him opportunities to explore other sports and activities he may like.

This is an interesting point. Thank you. He spends a lot of time on his bar at home. As soon as we set it up he watched a YouTube video of a kid doing a pullover and he got it in a day. I can't imagine him getting bored but that's a super interesting thing to watch for in the future. At the moment his coach has shown him a level 3 routine and with a back hip circle, pull over and that front back switch thing they do while hanging (sorry I'm new haha). Anyways it's keeping him busy as he improves that routine at home. The big goal for me was finding something safe that he can work on at home. He does Legos with his brother and all kinds of other things but I'd say a good 30 percent of the time he's home he's doing something highly physical. Headstands and headspins were off the table so that's why we started investing in equipment. He is now asking for a tumble track (whatever that is haha) but I'm kinda nervous to let him try handsprings without his coach. Anyways, that's where we are.

But it totally makes sense we want to keep it new and fresh. Also safe. The biggest thing is safety. I just hope it's okay to do this stuff developmentally. My uncle was in the Olympic trails but he didn't start until his teens so I just wonder how this at such a young age.

Anyways, thanks for the interesting perspective! I will pay attention to that!
 

katrid11

Proud Parent
Sep 1, 2020
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Welcome!

My kids were super active at that age as well. DD did 3hrs of gymnastics a week, swim lesson, pee-wee soccer/Lax league for 3 hrs, 1 hr dance class and music at age 4. We gave variety b/c you don't really know what might stick and what is just "the thing" for now. my daughter eliminated dance, soccer, lacrosse, basketball, softball, and swim team in the last several years. She has taken to gymnastics, diving, and horseback riding.

In my opinion, I would limit home equipment and encourage typical 4 yr old play - running, jumping, jungle gyms, swimming, etc. All of those build up strength while sucking up energy :)

FWIW I am anti home tumble tracks. We know too many kids who have broken a bone on one b/c they landed odd, side deflated, landed past the end, etc. Our coaches won't forbid them but highly encourage parents not to buy them.

TBH our fav equipment is a basic mat and a chinup bar. My Daughter does pullups all day long along with leg lifts, some minor kipping and swinging. It is positioned so you can do pullups while watching TV :) She can't throw skills off it but her strength increased dramatically with the chinup bar.

Basic mat allows for low level skills like walkovers, handstands, stretching, ab work, etc. We have a beam and low bar but they are inaccessible unless I am there and they were pandemic buys when we had no gym to use.... we use them very rarely now to the point we will sell the bar this summer.
 
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