Hi new here; ? re: 5 y/o

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Feb 25, 2009
Hi I am new to gymnastics (my kids would fall in love with a sport I know nothing about). I have 5 y/o and 3 1/2 y/o girls. My 3 y/o is in the little tumbling class, has no fear, and they might move her to the 4 y/o class because of this. My 5 y/o has a little more fear, but is being moved up to a level 2? (the gym doesn't call their rec classes by levels). She is doing really well, and I was told she is one of the strongest 5 y/o they've seen. She seems to catch on pretty fast. She is a tricky child though (first born). She refuses to try any other sports, just gymnastics. How do I know if she is in the right gym? (We live by a few gyms). How do I know if they are pushing her not enough, or too much?
What should 5 y/o be able to do?
Also, what level do kids start competing, what age?
I just need a little manual on gymnastics; I did a lot of sports, but not this one. I just don't want to do wrong for my kids just because I don't know the sport.
Also, is it better to keep bumping my 3 y/o up based on skill or age.
Thanks in advance.


Proud Parent
Jun 19, 2008
united states
welcome to gymnastics!

I hope that this helps a little: (i also have a 5 year old gymnast)

the 5 yo...strong, catches on quickly, only wants to do gymnastics...Sounds like gym is the place for her to be right now. At 5 years old, gymnastics should be fun. As far as "What should a 5 yo be able to do" - honestly? My answer has to be: stay in class, pay attention to the coach, and have a great time learning gymnastics. At 5 years old, there really isn't anything specific that a child should be able to do. Skills aren't age-specific. For instance, my 5 year old is training for level 4 and level 5 currently, but there are SEVERAL other 5 year olds in our gym who are learning front and back rolls, cartwheels and handstands and bridges.

How do you know if you are in the right gym?
If your dd likes being there, likes the coaches, likes the kids, is having fun and learning at her own pace, then I would say you are probably at the right gym for you.

How do you know if she is being pushed too hard/not hard enough?
I'd say...since she's 5, gymnastics should be fun. So as long as she is having fun and progressing at her own pace and not being forced into doing things that she doesn't want to do as a 5 year old, then she's not being pushed too hard. If the coaches are spending more time standing around and talking rather than teaching their classes, your daughter is bored and isn't having fun and learning, then maybe she needs a class with a little more structure and challenge.

What level do kids start competing and what age:
That depends on your gym and what they do. Some gyms start competing level 2 unsanctioned competitions. As far as sanctioned meets, some gyms don't compete until level 4, some gyms it's level 5. But whichever your gym does, it's really up to the gymnast (child) whether or not they want to compete. Being on team is a huge commitment for the child as well as the parents: time, financial, emotionally, physically, etc...All I know is that the minimum age requirement for USAG Level 4 is 6 years old. If the gymnast isn't physically or emotionally ready at 6 years old, then they won't compete and shouldn't. I know I keep saying it, but gymnastics should be FUN for kids and not something that pushes them beyond their mental capacity.

With your littlest one (3 year old) Is it better to move by skill or age?
By both, really. If her skills are a little more advance than the rest of the kids in her class, then there's really no problem in putting her in a class with 4 year olds. I think it really depends on the personality of the child. If she's cool with being in a class with girls a little bigger than her, then it should be okay. At three and 4 years old, gymnastics is somewhere that kids can get with other kids and have fun while learning about what their bodies are capable of (running jumping hoping rolling climbing swining...)


Proud Parent
Aug 16, 2008
I have a just turned 5 yr old L2 and she is learning handstands, cartwheels, back hip circles, pullovers, forward rolls on beam, headstands, that kind of thing. All the skills needed for L2 routines.

There are also 3 yr olds and 4 yr olds on our L2 team who are also learning these things. They will skip L3 and learn L4 after they get a certain score at L2. Our L1-L3's only compete "in-house" so they don't do the traveling meets until L4. So even though she is on the team, it's not tooooooo terribly expensive on the meet end of things.

If she's happy and having fun at gym and wants to go back...then I'd say she's in the right place. They moved my dd up pretty quick and I was worried about her but she LOVES it so I am leaving her alone and letting her have fun. When she stops having fun, we stop going!:)
Sep 19, 2008
My DD is 5 as well!

How do I know if she is in the right gym? (We live by a few gyms).

Aside from DD's interest, what I look for is a clean well maintained facility, no more than 8 to 1 class ratio, and a program that prizes fun above all yet doesn't compromise progression. As a parent I do want her to have fun above all else, but I look at progression (safe, appropriate progression) as bang for my buck. Not high pressure to get new skills, just readiness by the staff to teach them if DD's ready. I do want more than supervised play! If DD looks forward to going and enjoys her class, it's the right place to be!

How do I know if they are pushing her not enough, or too much?

Not pushing kids enough will usually be accompanied by boredom. If the thought of gymnastics makes her yawn, complain, takes a sudden interest in another activity, or is playfully disruptive more than usual, probably not being pushed. I'd watch the class and see what they practice. It's one thing to spend part of a rotation on the basics, but if there's no drill or new skill time boredom can happen.

If she doesn't want to go because she's afraid, has a obvious behavioral change when there (is more or less emotional in the gym, or repeatedly declines to do skills when a coach asks) then she might be getting pushed too hard. That is very individual, as her mom you would notice before anyone else I'm sure. Fear is natural, but if her demeanor changes that would be a red flag to me.

Is it better to move by skill or age?

Personally, I think both! I havn't had to take one or the other at DD's gym. I think (pretty sure anyay!) that most programs try to group kids first by level, and then build classes around kids of the same age.

I'm not saying programs who don't so that are no good, it's just the only way I've seen it done. If I had to choose, the deciding factor would be DD's personality. If she's gregarious, fearless, and loves the gym, go for the skill class! If she's more on the cautious side or if older kids doing harder things might be intimidating, I'd keep her with her age. If you can try the class out before committing, all the better!

What level/age do kids start competing?

That really depends on your gym and the competitive levels they offer! Some compete level 1-3, others wait to start until level 4.


I felt I needed a manual too when my dds started gym and I had a ton of questions. I have a 5.5 year old and a 4.5 year old gymmie and as far as skill development they are worlds apart. My 4.5 year old is very strong and fairly flexible though her attention span is almost nothing. She is very playful and is just having fun when at the gym. She also has more fears than her sister. She has some skills like her cartwheel, forward roll etc. Now my 5.5y/o is very strong, flexible and focused and skills come to her very easily. She competed for the first time at 4 y/o as a level 2. She just finished her level 3 season last month and is now training level 4. She has all her level 4 skills and even some upper level skills like cartwheel on high beam, bwo on beam and her most impressive skill is her straddle and pike press etc.

Children develop at different rate and every child is different. But as long as they are happy and progressing I would say she is at right gym. I would also consider how the coaches handle your dds fear issues. Some coaches have little patience with fears and either push them too hard or not at all. Hold on to your pocket book because it sounds like you have two talented little gymmies in your hand. Before you know it they'll be flipping all over the house. This is a great place to ask all your questions and get some great advice and experience from other parents and coaches. CB is my secret gymnastics manual!:)
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