parenting dilemma with dd

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Aug 8, 2009
My daughter is five and in a pre-team class. The class is quite difficult and she is placed with 7-year-olds who are a bit better right now. My problem is that she is still so young that she doesn't seem to really get what the class is about. She never practices at home, and basically forgets about gymnastics when she's not in the gym. She also seems to be very passive and cautious in the gym.

I've begun to doubt why she's in the class, but she insists she loves it. I used to help her at home, but I find that I become pushy and make her upset when I do. So lately, I've backed way off and just stopped bringing it up at home. Now it's frustrating seeing her skills fall behind and several days go by without even a cartwheel or backwalkover at home.

Do I encourage her to practice? Or do I let her just learn on her own? Her age is really the issue, I guess. I've helped her in the past, so by not helping her now, she will definitely dip down in skill level for awhile if she doesn't practice at home...

Any insight or advice would be welcome. I'm really confused about my role in this whole gymnastics thing.:confused::(

Deleted member D3987

leave her be. she's 5. and trust me, she doesn't care if you are frustrated.

your role is to pay on time, drop her off on time, pick her up on time, and tell her you're pleased that she enjoys gymnastics.

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Proud Parent
Jul 11, 2008

I totally agree with coach dunno. Remember, your dd is still a very young child. The interest she shows in gym class (or anything) is based on the attention span on a 5 year old. Pushing her to do more gymnastics (especially away from the gym and her coaches) will likely make her less interested in the sport - not more.

Children develop physically and mental at different ages, and it is possible that she is not ready for more intense gymnatics. It is also possible (actuallly likely if you look at the numbers that were recently posted on cb and the usag site, ), that she won't have a long term continuing interest in competative gym. Whichever road your dd ends up taking should be up to her. Your job, as coach dunno said, is to do the driving, pay the bills (they will only get larger as time goes by, believe me), and give her positive and loving support. Good luck to you and your dd.

gym law mom

Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
Gotta agree with the coach and Gymdad. Your dd is only 5, so let gym be at the gym and home be home. You are mommy and not a part time coach who happens to live with her.

5yos live in the moment. She doesn't "get" it that she may be driving you a little nuts and is doing gymnastics in a way that is comfortable for her. As long as she says she's having fun and has time to do other 5yo activities then she's right on track.

The only potential problem I see is that maybe she feels a little overwhelmed in the class since you said she is the youngest and its pretty intense. Its natural to back away from a situation that you feel uncomfortable in----that might be the cause of the behavior you see in the gym. Keep communication open with the instructor regarding her progress. The skills she has will always be there and when she feels ready, you'll see them improve.
Aug 8, 2009
Thanks guys. I guess I just need to be reminded that I need to back off. :) I just kind of wish she was in the recreational class. It seems like such a better fit for her, but every time I bring it up, even in the most positive way possible, she gets really upset and sobs about wanting to stay in her class.
I'm sure I'll look back on this in a short while and realize how simple the whole situation is (let time tell), but this is my first time going through it, so I'm pretty inexperienced (from a mommy's standpoint).

I really am trying to support my daughter in the best way possible so that she can enjoy her time at the gym and get the most out of it. It's just surprised me how it can be a real balancing act at times. Even this young.


Proud Parent
Aug 16, 2008
I agree too. I have a 5 yr old on "team" (L2) and the best thing I can do is back off. IfI try to encourage her to practice at home SHE gets frustrated. If she chooses to do some stuff at home then that is great but I never push! I let the coaches do that!:) 5 yr old gymmies are interesting to watch...we have a group of 4-5 yr olds on team and it is so funny because they are just so...little...and they never seem to do the same skill the same way twice! Enjoy this'll get all too serious too soon if she stays with it!;)
Feb 28, 2008
Bethlehem, PA
I pretty much agree with all of the other posters. When you say that the rec. class is a better fit, how are you measuring that.

The fact that your DD does not want to go back, tells me she's enjoying herself. I would just let her go as she is gonna go. When my DD was 5 she never practiced. Sometimes she would do cartwheels, but she didn't really practice. She would do the monkey bars on the playground for about 2 seconds and then move on to something else.

As for her behavior in practice... some days she would do a skill great and then she would do it not so great. She wiggled, she giggled, she bounced. Her arms and legs looked like overcooked spaghetti. She was weak, she was skinny, she would have to be reminded to go when it was her turn... get the picture?

My DD will be 8 in September and she is training for the upcoming level 5 season. She now practices incessantly at home. Did you know a our couch is actually a makeshift balance beam? We have a chin-up bar that she confuses with a kip bar. She also conditions on her own at home. My role (according to her) is to raise my arm and give her a score on her swinging around on the bar. It is very tongue in cheek. I don't coach her with the exception of early on insisting that she ALWAYS point her toes (I have a background in ballet and if nothing else, her toes will be pointed).

In the gym, she still bounces (some) and giggles (more than some) and is probably the most flexible gymnast on her team. She's not particularly strong, but has great form and is a pretty dancer. She's a great beam worker and her bars is really improving over the summer. Vault is her weak area (mean coach at the developmental level in that other gym) but she now likes it and is getting there on it. She's an o.k. tumbler.

One thing that she has been consistent in that I see growing in her is a love and a passion for gymnastics. This is the real payoff for me. It was so cool this summer during the camp show to watch her and her level 5 teammates raptly watching the elites and level 8's and above. Since camp she now has favorites that she looks up to.

This will come for your daughter. For now, she is supposed to have fun. Love of the sport and a passion for it will not be there at 5 no matter who the child is. Love of the activity for the time being is the goal at 5.

Good luck and savor the journey.


I agree-My daughter was the same way for a while and seemed very nonchalant about going to the gym, while at the same time insisting that she "loved" it and wanted to continue. I even tried getting her older sisters to secretly find out if she really wanted to do gymnastics. This is probably something she will grow out of and right now it's important that she enjoys the sport. If she gets pushed too much while so young, it may turn her off. If she keeps going she will get more serious as she matures and understands about the dedication needed.
This is what happened to my daughter-now she has a great work ethic and practices at home all the time trying to perfect her skills. We didn't push her but let her decide her level of comittment. Now she loves gym days and stays very focused on what she is doing. So let her be 5 and enjoy herself.


Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
Agreeing with everyone else. My DD was in preschool class until a few months after her 5th birthday. She was then placed in a 3 hours over 2 times a week developmental class. She had a great coach that kept them focused, but she still loved to play all the time and never looked like she was going to get very far in the gym. Always did things her way, bent legs, just did stuff because it was fun. She moved up to team/L4 a few months before she turned 6. Started focusing a little more, but she was still just a little girl and wasn't always on task, etc. She competed level 4 as a 6 year old half the season, but she had a hard time with all the little things, focusing at meets, etc. She did have a blast though, so it was all good.

She is now 7, repeating level 4 at a new gym and she really is a different kid. She is in a group of kids from 6-9 years old and there really is such a huge range of when they start focusing, etc.

There are 5 year olds that can focus and are really into doing things just right, etc and there are 8 year olds that struggle with it. Some kids want to get the skills and are very determined to work on them (even at home) until they get them and others are not worried about it. They are all just so different. :D

If she is happy in the class and the coach has no issues with her, I wouldn't worry. A lot of times when there are younger kids in a class that is developmental, the coaches KNOW how old the little one is and treat them as such. Just let her have fun and let the coaches do their stuff. :)


Proud Parent
Jun 6, 2008
My 4.5 DD is like the weather.....Sometimes she loves gymnastics, sometimes she says she HATES it and never ever wants to do it again.....Then I wake up to find her with her leo on wanting to do stuff at home LOL....sometimes she is serious in class, other times she is a funny bunny....

I have to remember that the things that interest her about gymnastics are VERY different from the things I like about gymnastics for her....

But I always lay off.....I always tell her not to do too much at home and that the gym is for gymnastics with a coach (NOT MOM!)
Ironically if I tell her NOT to do gymnastics at home, then she wants to....if I tell her to practice some cartwheels she says no.....(hmmmmm, could this be training for the teenage years???LOL)

Your DD must be really good if she is already in L2...good for her! Let her have as much fun with it as she wants....In the long run, she will be better adjusted!
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Aug 8, 2009
Thank you all so much for your helpful words. :) I told dd this weekend that my job was only to watch and clap from now on. I also told her that gymnastics is HER sport, not mine, and that I will never coach her at home. She seemed very happy about that.
Today was her first day back after a few days off. I didn't watch as much as usual, and I gave her a big hug when she was done. She looked up at me and said "Mommy, I LOVE gymnastics so much!"
I really appreciate hearing your input on this, since you've all been through this. Thank you so much!! I really will try to keep my role as a mommy, not a coach.

My hardest part so far? I saw her practicing on her own yesterday, and she was doing something totally wrong.... I didn't say anything. Man that was hard. I was literally biting my tongue as I smiled and clapped for her. :rolleyes:


Proud Parent
Oct 10, 2008
This is an old thread, but when my daughter was first 5 she rarely practiced even when told to by her coaches, saying "they don't know what I do at home." Started practicing a little later that year and having just turned 6, practices all. the. time.


I actually feel a bit wistful over this thread. It must be nice when your DD is sufficiently satisfied by the amount of gymnastics she already does not to obsess over it the rest of the time.
My 5 yo DD spends most of her time trying to convert our house into a gym with mattresses, pillows, and pieces of carpet, and "coaching" her little sister (who obediently tries to do backward rolls down the home-made ramp at age 2 when mummy fails to supervise every second). Even when she's not "practising" or talking about gymnastics, she's walking around on her toes, doing unconscious arabesques, pointing her toes, etc. I feel really bad for her because she has so much enthusiasm and so little outlet (she only goes an hour pw). I find myself wondering how long it will be before she becomes frustrated at her limited opportunity or disappointed she's not really learning the skills she wants to be doing (even simple cartwheels and handstands) and gives up beforfe she even starts??
I have no complaints about my DD's wonderful coaches, but I do wish they would consult parents when it comes to making decisions about which children may be given opportunities to do more.
[I've decided I will chat with them later next year, but in the next 6 mths I'll take the opportunity - when she's got no real commitments - to intruduce her to a few other sports like dancing and iceskating in case she just turns out to be one of those kids that loves anything].


Proud Parent
Mar 20, 2009
When she is ready to really focus you will know! She is only 5 and I don't know many 5 year olds who really know what they want to do yet. If she says she loves it then just let her do her thing!! It is sooo hard being a mommy!!!

My DD was late coming into gymnastics (8 years old) and still lacked focus then! lol!! She did not do much practicing at home but told me she LOVED gymnastics. When she was placed on "the team" it all changed. She started focusing more and practicing her routines at home and that has not changed since.


Proud Parent
Nov 4, 2009
North Carolina
I have to agree with all of the posts that say to let her decide when kick it up a notch. Unfortunately, I was also my daughter's coach and anything I wanted was the opposite of what she wanted. She went to cheer leading after level 8 and from a coaches point of view I know she had the ability to at least go to college with gymnastics. I'm not sure how much of it was her wanting to be more social, how much was the fact that it now required work to get new skills, and how much was fear and not wanting to have me as her coach. Either way, she's out of gymnastics (maybe we'll get her back in) but she's doing fine in cheer.
Aug 8, 2009
Wow--this post came back up? :) Guess I can do an update then. LOL

DD is doing awesome and I handed gym duty over to my husband. I no longer go to her practices, and when she has homework from her coach, we set a clock and she's off on her own. Honestly, some of the more blunt responses on here were what I needed--I needed to be told to back off, and I did that. We're all happy, and dd is finding her own way.

Thanks again to everyone who reminded me what this is about: my daughter, not me.
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