Parents How late is too late?

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Proud Parent
Oct 31, 2016
My daughter’s Level 3 coach just informed us that they need to change the practice schedule (for reasons that deserve a whole seperate post), and they will now have practice from 6-9 on Mondays and Wednesdays. This is a small group of mostly 7-year-olds, with a young 5-year-old training with them. They train 12 total hours a week.

I’m concerned about the late practices. She is ASLEEP in bed by 8pm on school nights. It’s bad timing too, because my daughter’s teacher just got done telling my husband last week that she sees my daughter tired and lethargic in class sometimes, during the most recent trimester. My hubby already blames this on gym, even before I have to tell him about the schedule change. I hate hearing that my daughter is tired at school, I want her 100% when she’s there! She does have to wake up early to go to daycare so I can go to work (5:30-6am wakeup).

Luckily the coach seems willing to work in my daughter (and other people’s daughters who have similar concerns) on Saturdays for makeup hours if they have to leave early, but she’ll still be missing prime skill/form/conditioning time in the 3rd hour and will be making it up with mostly warmup time in a different level on Saturdays.

Ok so my questions are:
1) In your opinion, is a 9pm end time for practice twice a week too late for 1st graders? For your kiddo?

2) How would you alleviate the problem with them being to tired at school? (My most urgent question, since this is a problem even without this schedule change!)

3) Would you take the offer of going home at 8 on these days and making up the hours with a different level, even though she will be missing the prime instructional time for her level?
I once moved my daughter to a different gym when her gym changed to a later practice time. I had no problem with the gym, but the logistics were all wrong for my daughter.

Even now, years later, I still appreciate the earlier finish at her current gym and think a later session would not work. It is annoying to rush past her former gym to get to the current one straight after school, but it is worth it.

I am assuming your daughter still has to shower and at least snack when she gets home? That makes for a very late night. I would be very worried about the combination of even an 8pm finish with a 5:30 am start.
We do a lot of crazy stuff to accommodate gymnastics but I don’t see how that would ever work. Sleep is critical and that schedule won’t give her what she needs. It’s not healthy, and also not safe. I don’t know where in the schedule/situation you have flexibility but you’ll need to figure it out. Just google how much sleep a seven year old needs and go from there.
That is ridiculous! Very irresponsible on the part of the gym.

My biggest concern would not even be the tiredness the next daynetc, it would be the safety risk in the gym. 1st graders training at 9PM, is a serious accident waiting to happen.
Yes, too late for that age. I know people say kids will adjust but sleep is so very important. My daughter had practice until 7:45 and was rarely in bed by 9 by the time she got home, ate a quick dinner, into pjs, and read for a few minutes before bed (we skipped showers in favor of sleep). She has to get up at 6:45 and even that was tough at 10 years old.

I'd take the offer to leave at 8 and make up the time on Saturday. Many gyms around here only go 9ish hours for Level 3, so even with a couple of missed hours she should be ok. If enough girls leave, maybe they'll rethink the schedule. In the meantime, if it's conditioning she's missing she can always ask the coach if there's stuff she can do at home if she wants.
My daughter has had one 6-9 practice as both a level 2 and 3, but it’s been on a Friday so no school the next day. I would absolutely take the leave at 8:00 offer and feel lucky the gym offered it! As a previous poster said, all the gyms around us only do 9 hours for level 3, so I don’t think it will hurt your daughter at all.
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Does the childcare encourage kids who arrive that early to go back to sleep?
When I worked at a child care center, we had the kids lay down if they arrived before 7am. We encouraged those who were there really early to go back to sleep.
Also, would it be possible for you to get her up just in time to go to the car (and get dressed for school at the child care). We had kids come in their pjs and they would get dressed when they woke up.
And, yes, 9pm is too late for a 1st grader to practice.
And yes, you should leave early... see if 7:30 is an option... this would mean needing MORE time on Saturday - time for skills / form / conditioning.
I agree that 9 PM is too late for a young kid.

That being said, mine had practice that ended late when she was 7. I almost changed gyms over it, but we stuck it out because it was only for that year. I was able to shift her sleeping schedule so she slept in later in the morning, which was really hard to do. My kids are naturally early to bed and early to rise kids, and they require a lot of sleep, more than most kids their age.

Is there any way you can find a different child care option in the morning? Get a neighbor to come over for a couple of hours in the morning so your dd can sleep in much later and wake up right before school? We live 5 minutes from her school and when she had late practice, I woke her up 30 minutes before school started, to get her as much sleep as possible. Depending on when school starts, that might get her a couple more hours of sleep a night.
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1) Our upper optionals, who are all older teens, don’t even go that late.

2) Earlier bedtime. We actually had to move our child’s bedtime earlier at that age.

3) 8:00 is not early enough for her to leave.

The new practice schedule is objectively ridiculous. Can you join forces with the other parents and push back?
With a 5:30-6 wake up time she should really be asleep by 8. Some kids need even more sleep that that, too.

I would be really upset about this. Our littlest gymmies finish at 7:30 and older ones go no later than 8:30.

Something is going to have to give. Maybe even get several moms together and take a gymnastics break until summertime? Maybe that will demonstrate to gym how wrong their decision is.
Is it just until the end of the school year? If so, I could see pulling her early each day and making up on Saturday mornings since it would be a short time period in the grand scheme of things. We did have to shift our bedtimes when my DD got serious with her gymnastics. We were always the in bed, lights off at 8 until practice didn’t end until 730 so she wasn’t home until 8. At the same time, my kids aren’t huge sleepers and I was able to let her sleep in and drive her to school. If it’s not a temporary schedule change, I think you and other concerned parents should come to them as a united front and speak to them. Their hands might be tied at this time but if they’re risking losing an entire group of kids, their ears might open up a little more.
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For my daughter a 9 pm ending practice would mean 10pm bedtime.

That would never have worked in 1st grade.

In fact it’s only this year, now 6th grade and a 12 yr old she is awake past 9. And usually sound asleep by 10:15, 10:30 the latest.

And personally for our kid, 12 hours would of been too much. At our gym. It was 7.5 hours a week for level 2, 9 for level 3. 12 for 4 and up. And they are very good about working with you. We chose to keep my daughter at 9 hours for quite awhile. Very thankful to have a gym willing to work with us.

If the gym is willing to give you alternatives I would think about taking them.

If you don’t like the options it might be time to look for a gym that has hours more in line with what works for your child and family.
Too late!
9pm ending time would be a disaster for my 8 yr old. Once she ate, settled down, it would be at least 10/10:30 until she was asleep. Our optional level girls (ages 10-16) only practice till 8:30.
I would have her leave early and makeup the time on Sat. Is this a forever schedule change or just for awhile?
Agree with everyone else- too late! My daughter's group goes until 8:30 which parents complain about being too late- and most of the girls are at least 9. My daughter is 11- and we homeschool. She will often sleep 11 hours after a practice night!
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Is this a permanent schedule change? I agree with all the others that a 9pm end time is too late for you DD's age group.

Regarding the teacher's comment on your DD being tired -- is this a new thing? Is she tired at the same time each day? Does she get enough to eat? Is she going through either a growth or developmental spurt? Have you asked your DD how she feels?
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How well do you know the other parents, maybe you can all approach the gym as a group and let them know the hours won't work. I can't see how any of the other parents would be ok with that either but might be afraid to speak up thinking they are the only ones.

If the entire group is attending Saturdays together they could probably do something a lot more structured on Saturdays.
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Thank you all for your input! I am encouraged to hear that most of you agree that 9pm is too late. I'm glad I'm not just being difficult!

4 of the 6 mom's of girls on the team also hate the new change. The only mom who's 100% on board with it is the mom of the young 5-year-old, believe it or not. She says it will be easier for her to get to the gym. Maybe she's not concerned, since I think her daughter is not yet in school. The other mom I rarely talk to, so I'm not sure where she stands.

As far as trying to give my daughter some more time to sleep in the morning by changing daycares or having daycare make her sleep in the morning there after I drop her off, there is not much flexibility there. The daycare brings my girls to school for breakfast 30 minutes before school, and they leave about 20 minutes after I drop them off. School starts at 7:45. I think I might be able to fudge 15-20 minutes on my side, and hope she can get ready faster.

As for the teacher saying my daughter is sometimes tired at school, she told my husband this last week, and it is the first time I have heard about it. She told him it's been on and off for the entire trimester though. I asked my daughter about it and she says she's been more tired VERY RECENTLY because of the time change, but that she didn't think she was extra tired before that. The teacher knows my daughter does gym, and I asked her to keep an eye on her when the hours changed in January from 6 hours in level 2 to 12 for level 3, since it was a significant jump for her. I am a little concerned because her reading score went down on the district assessment since the beginning of the year, although she is still above average. The teacher is concerned about her dip as well. I think the teacher is possibly connecting her reading dip, her tiredness, and gym. I can't help but think there might be a connection as well, I know my husband does.

As far as I know, this is not a temporary change to the schedule. The gym has gone through some major shakeups in the last 6 months, lost a head coach, and also lost almost their entire optional team. Many compulsory athletes left too. The current coach is doing the best she can with a really tough situation. The gym says they have to change the schedule because the teams are too small, and it doesn't make sense financially to give each group their own time for every practice with the coach, so they are changing it to combine the 3's and 4's twice a week.
There are alot of rec classes going on, but the team coach doesn't coach rec, so it's not that. My other daughter is on level 2 team, and they practice 4-6 twice a week (plus Saturday 9-11), but she's only coached by the main team coach one of those days. There is another team coach who "fills in" where the main coach can't, and a ballet coach that takes some of the time. The main coach is in charge of coaching all levels, 2-6 though (only one level 6 and no other optionals).
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I have a 5 year old level 3 and that would be a disaster for us! When she went through level 1 at our gym in their rec program she was 6-7:30 and even that was awful. I was so glad when she got moved to 5-7. (Still would prefer 4-6) And with your wakeup time!!! That is impossible to sustain and poor judgement for those kids.
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