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AlexandraU16

Proud Parent
Aug 31, 2021
26
30
Hi everyone! I have sought your wisdom before and I’m seeking it again because it’s always been so helpful and matter-of-fact.
Here’s the situation:
My girls (4.5, 7.5) started gymnastics last fall. My older was in the beginner rec class (starts at age 5) and my younger was in the preschool class. They moved my younger into an advanced preschool class a few months in and she has thrived there. Before the summer session they let us know they’d be pausing the advanced preschool class and said I could put my younger daughter in the beginner rec class so she wouldn’t have to go back to the regular preschool class. This put her in the same class as her older sister and they had a really good summer together. My older has been working so diligently all year to move up into the next level rec class and she is very close but they don’t do their usual 8 week evaluations over the summer so it may be another couple months before she has the chance.
Over the summer the coach has approached me a few times to tell me how well she thinks my younger is doing but yesterday she asked me to hold back and told me she would like to move my younger daughter up into the next level and that she would like me to consider her for team. Another coach had mentioned team to me in the spring before summer training started and told me it would be six hours a week for the bronze team which I know by gymnastics standards is really fairly reasonable but at the time I really just felt like that’s so much time and too high a level of intensity for a four year old. I felt like she hasn’t even been doing it long enough to be sure she loves it so I had said no thanks back then.
The issue is that while I do not want to hold my younger daughter back and I want her to be supported to excel for as long as she wants to be doing this, I don’t know how to help my older daughter (who works so hard) to deal with her younger sister being in a higher level than her. My husband feels like this is one of those times where she just will have to learn we all have our natural aptitudes for some things and less for other things and just stress the things she is really excelling at but that my younger needs to move up even if it does hurt my older daughter’s feelings. I feel a little more torn.
How would you handle it?
(Also I told the coach we would reconsider team next year. Isn’t 4 so young for that??)
Thanks everyone. Appreciate you reading.
 

Amumcalledove

New Member
Jun 10, 2022
4
40
We’re a little younger than your kiddos but we could well end up in the same position.
For now my kiddos are in different classes - and they just accept that. This is one’s gym day and this is the others, too young too understand the differences - they both know they love gym and look forward to their day.
Does your older daughter want to move up? How has she felt about other kiddos moving on? Does she get bothered about her sibling doing the same activity? Does she have another activity she can do whilst sibling does her gym time?

What I really wanted to say though is - yes you can hold back on team! We have. My youngest was asked to join a selective preschool class, as an accelerated route to team and we’ve said thanks but no - priority right now is being active and having fun - a structured development class is not the right for now.
 

AlexandraU16

Proud Parent
Aug 31, 2021
26
30
We’re a little younger than your kiddos but we could well end up in the same position.
For now my kiddos are in different classes - and they just accept that. This is one’s gym day and this is the others, too young too understand the differences - they both know they love gym and look forward to their day.
Does your older daughter want to move up? How has she felt about other kiddos moving on? Does she get bothered about her sibling doing the same activity? Does she have another activity she can do whilst sibling does her gym time?

What I really wanted to say though is - yes you can hold back on team! We have. My youngest was asked to join a selective preschool class, as an accelerated route to team and we’ve said thanks but no - priority right now is being active and having fun - a structured development class is not the right for now.
My older daughter has been working for months with the specific goal of moving up so I know there would be jealousy. This move up would cause them to have to go on separate days which kind of like you said I thought might be helpful- they each have their own gym day. But my oldest is aware enough of what’s going on that I don’t think I could just be like “you guys are going to be in different classes”. She would know that her younger sister had moved up.
She hasn’t noticed other girls in her classes moving up and honestly I haven’t really either because the class roster is really inconsistent with new kids coming from week to week and others no longer coming.

My older daughter also does jiu jitsu with her dad and is starting ballet today. She does piano lessons as well so she is involved in lots of other things (which my younger daughter doesn’t so they’re specific to my older).

Thanks for your response. Good to know others have been/are in the same boat.
 

Kara

New Member
Jul 16, 2013
26
At 4 you have plenty of time; holding back on team for now will not hurt one bit. As for your older daughter I would just explain that every child has their own path, some move more quickly than others, but gymnastics is a marathon, not a sprint. If she wants to make team, just keep encouraging her to continue doing the best she can, it's been less than a year she also still has plenty of time to make team if that is her goal.
 

AlexandraU16

Proud Parent
Aug 31, 2021
26
30
At 4 you have plenty of time; holding back on team for now will not hurt one bit. As for your older daughter I would just explain that every child has their own path, some move more quickly than others, but gymnastics is a marathon, not a sprint. If she wants to make team, just keep encouraging her to continue doing the best she can, it's been less than a year she also still has plenty of time to make team if that is her goal.
She isn’t really even aware that there is team. She is just familiar with their rec system- they have a color advancement system kind of like karate belts. She’s in “pink” level and wants to move up to the “orange” class which is the one they’re wanting to move my 4 year old.
We are definitely not doing team for my four year old this year and I don’t think my seven year old will ever have competitive aspirations. She really hated having even a small casual audience when they did a showcase this past year.
I’ll definitely use the different pathway marathon talk though. I think that’s a really good approach
 

gymgal

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2008
4,608
If your older has no competition aspirations for gymnastics, use that to your advantage and move up your younger daughter now saying that she does want to compete and this is the track she needs to follow to get there. I would not hold back younger daughter for the sake of the older. She is old enough to understand (though still may not be happy about it). And I agree that 6hrs for a 4.5 yr old is high. Let her enjoy another year of rec and then revisit team.
 

JPC13

Proud Parent
Mar 25, 2022
185
You might think about the older one going the T&T route with the younger going the JO path. They're separate, pretty incomparable, and T&T seems like a lot of fun for kids who just want to "do gymnastics" at a level beyond a rec class. I'm sure T&T gets intense at some point, but from what I've seen it looks more low key than JO.
 
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Caesarea

New Member
Aug 11, 2022
20
United States of America
At four years old, I would wait until she's started school and is a bit older (about 5/6) to consider a competitive pathway. Right now, she still needs to focus on having an active, fun-filled life.

That being said, Xcel Bronze is fairly low key in most places. I however, think that 6 hours is too much for her age. Explain to your daughter that you're keeping her in rec because you want her to have fun, and that team is a lot of work. You should never hold someone back because of sibling comparisons, however, only because of concern for their happiness and wellbeing.
 

AlexandraU16

Proud Parent
Aug 31, 2021
26
30
I think that’s probably spot on
If your older has no competition aspirations for gymnastics, use that to your advantage and move up your younger daughter now saying that she does want to compete and this is the track she needs to follow to get there. I would not hold back younger daughter for the sake of the older. She is old enough to understand (though still may not be happy about it). And I agree that 6hrs for a 4.5 yr old is high. Let her enjoy another year of rec and then revisit team.
.
You might think about the older one going the T&T route with the younger going the JO path. They're separate, pretty incomparable, and T&T seems like a lot of fun for kids who just want to "do gymnastics" at a level beyond a rec class. I'm sure T&T gets intense at some point, but from what I've seen it looks more low key than JO.
that’s interesting thanks! I’m familiar with xcel and JO but what is T and T if you would educate a newbie?
The gym my girls go to used to compete USAG and then switched to AAU and now apparently it’s NGA? So I don’t know what their actual levels look like etc. not sure if it’s the right gym long term for my younger daughter if she goes the competitive route but it’s been really good for now in the beginning rec stages.
 

JPC13

Proud Parent
Mar 25, 2022
185
I think that’s probably spot on

.

that’s interesting thanks! I’m familiar with xcel and JO but what is T and T if you would educate a newbie?
The gym my girls go to used to compete USAG and then switched to AAU and now apparently it’s NGA? So I don’t know what their actual levels look like etc. not sure if it’s the right gym long term for my younger daughter if she goes the competitive route but it’s been really good for now in the beginning rec stages.
My daughter does JO so all I know about it is what I’ve seen at the gym: by name, it’s trampoline and tumbling. As the name suggests they do trampoline as an event and then floor tumbling is another. It’s however different than JO “floor” in that it seems mostly skills based (e.g., do a bunch of back handsprings in a row). They also seem to have an event that’s sort of like vault but with a sequence of little trampolines.

At our gym that’s typically where they direct kids who are athletic but not interested in doing the high hours/stress of JO. It also seems much more inclusive of different body types and older kids.

On edit: my daughter started USAG, did NGA for a year, and is back to USAG. The JO track is way more intense/expensive/competitive. Lots of weird parents with six year old future gold medalists.
 

AlexandraU16

Proud Parent
Aug 31, 2021
26
30
My daughter does JO so all I know about it is what I’ve seen at the gym: by name, it’s trampoline and tumbling. As the name suggests they do trampoline as an event and then floor tumbling is another. It’s however different than JO “floor” in that it seems mostly skills based (e.g., do a bunch of back handsprings in a row). They also seem to have an event that’s sort of like vault but with a sequence of little trampolines.

At our gym that’s typically where they direct kids who are athletic but not interested in doing the high hours/stress of JO. It also seems much more inclusive of different body types and older kids.

On edit: my daughter started USAG, did NGA for a year, and is back to USAG. The JO track is way more intense/expensive/competitive. Lots of weird parents with six year old future gold medalists.
Hahaha I see CGP even in the preschool rec program. Honestly I think sometimes those parents are more intense than the ones whose kids are in higher levels and have been at it for years.

I’m not worried about what track for her at this point as I’ve decided no team this year. I want to her to grow and learn all she can this year and if she still loves it in the spring I think I will reconsider team and what track would be best for her.
What age is typical for girls to start team? I’m sure there’s a huge variety but is there an average or typical age? I really know very little so I appreciate all the insight.
 

JPC13

Proud Parent
Mar 25, 2022
185
Hahaha I see CGP even in the preschool rec program. Honestly I think sometimes those parents are more intense than the ones whose kids are in higher levels and have been at it for years.

I’m not worried about what track for her at this point as I’ve decided no team this year. I want to her to grow and learn all she can this year and if she still loves it in the spring I think I will reconsider team and what track would be best for her.
What age is typical for girls to start team? I’m sure there’s a huge variety but is there an average or typical age? I really know very little so I appreciate all the insight.
My daughter started in team focused training at 4. Basically there was a secondary set of classes designed for kids who appeared promising. My daughter didn’t know or care back then but the practices were more intense, longer, had more conditioning and a lot more focus on doing things right. They were also coached by team coaches — not high school or college kids.

My thinking is if your kid is going to possibly compete, getting into the “talented kid” track as soon as possible is the right idea. There is a lot of scope for learning how to do things incorrectly in the “fun rec kid” classes.
 
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gymgal

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2008
4,608
What age is typical for girls to start team? I’m sure there’s a huge variety but is there an average or typical age? I really know very little so I appreciate all the insight.
There really is a wide range and it mainly depends on the gym you are at. Some gyms prefer to get them in the competitive track when they are 4-6 while others (usually less competitive programs) don't put them into competitive until 7-9. My dd started pre-k classes at 4, and started competing at 8. She went on to do 4 years of level 10 in JO. So even if you younger daughter eventually wants to stay in competitive gymnastics (and compete in college - I know, long way off) she has plenty of time and you could hold off on team for a couple of years if you wanted
 

AlexandraU16

Proud Parent
Aug 31, 2021
26
30
Thanks everyone. I think we are going to let her move up the level in the rec program and just see how the year goes. I’m working on how to gently talk to my older daughter about it but I do feel like everyone is right that I can’t hold my younger back to spare the feelings of my older.

My instinct continues to be that 4.5 is way too young to be training 6+ hours a week. She will be 5.5 in the spring when training starts for the 2023 season so if she still loves it I will reconsider then. For now I’m going to let her take her tap and ballet and jiu jitsu classes and have time to sleep and play etc. She doesn’t even understand the concept of competitive gymnastics yet- she just likes to jump really high and climb on anything and everything

You guys are great. I really appreciate all the advice
 

ReluctantGymMom

Proud Parent
May 11, 2020
289
32
When my daughter was your daughters age, she was invited onto team to compete level 1 or 2 at 9 hours a week, I thought that was crazy talk so I put her in preteam at 4 a week which was perfect. A year later she moved to level 1 at 6 hours a week instead and I think that extra year in growing and developing at that age makes a huge difference
 
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