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flipnastic

Proud Parent
Jan 4, 2016
248
39
So, I am curious what your child's journey look like in the early years… I know every child is so so different, but I just want to kind of get an idea for peace of mind, I guess?

Anyways, my daughter just turned six and she seems to be pretty talented. She is training level 3 usag but with reduced hours as kindergarten plus Gym has been very difficult. I am so, so thankful for her team being very flexible with us. She is training about five hours a week where her teammates are training nine.

Anyways, I had a mini freak out last night because I realized that sooner than later if we want to continue this crazy sport which she absolutely loves, we will have to increase hours. She could go back to level two this year but I do believe that she would be extremely bored and that she is loving the skills that she is learning right now, and really, for not going very much compared to the other girls , she's doing very well.

Anyways, I know there are a ton of paths and a ton of things that can happen between now and the next 10, five or even one year but Honestly, I do believe she will want to participate in the sport for as Long as she is able and that she has the potential to go pretty far if she wants to. So, I got pretty overwhelmed last night thinking about the commitment that that takes… so, my questions:

Did you ever wonder if your child was spending too much time in the gym and that it wasn't worth the sacrifice for the family? When and how did you decide that it was worth the sacrifice?

Basically, if we aren't certain that it is worth the sacrifice, should we back off now? What if she gets to a fairly high-level and then we (parents) decide there is no way we can do this as a family? Is it worth the heartbreak then? Yall, this is a very overwhelming sport, but anytime I mention trying anything different my daughter breaks down in tears.


I know this all may sound crazy, but I am hoping that a few of you have felt the same feelings and emotions at one point and have a few words of wisdom...
 
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gymbeam

Proud Parent
Mar 18, 2014
1,966
June will be my daughter's 4 year gym anniversary. In that short time, she's gone from complete newb at 5 hours a week to training level 9 for 30 hours a week. o_O

Granted, 30 hours is high. On average, I think hours will max out in the 20-24 range. But, they do ramp up pretty quickly- especially if you're in a fairly competitive JO track.

I was clueless where we were headed for the first two years. I don't know if it would have changed anything, but I do wish I had at least some clue to the time and expense involved before she got so...well....obsessed.

Yours is only 6- I feel pretty sure she could be easily steered another direction. Of course, it may take a little tears and a little time, but nothing like it will after a couple more years.

So, yes, decide now!
 

raenndrops

Coach
Oct 24, 2009
6,804
The 'Wood, Ohio
If you are already thinking like this, it might be good to look into if there is a YMCA with a GOOD gymnastics team program in driving distance. They are (usually) more cost effective and less time consuming, even at the higher levels. She is young. Maybe take this summer (when there is no school) to have her try different sports in addition to gymnastics. At 6, OG did T-ball / Coach pitch, soccer, and basketball in addition to gymnastics. During the school year, she went to practice 5 hours a week and her other sports didn't overlap and each only had practice once a week.
 
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gymgal

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2008
4,688
I always tell new parents who inquire that you really need to look into your future and decide if you are willing to sacrifice all those driving hours, lost family time, and all that money for gymnastics. If you are not, it is not fair to keep her in competitive gymnastics as it will only be harder for her to give it up later on, if she really loves it. When we started the journey, I researched everything that L10 gymnastics would involve. I had no idea whether dd would make it that far (she did - starting her 3rd yr now) but I wanted to make sure we as a family were prepared to take her all the way if that was her potential. It wasn't easy. We have 2 other children who are in year round sports which makes it even harder but we have found ways to make it work throughout the years. We also homeschool so there is less "school stress" in terms of bedtimes, wake up times, homework, etc.

My take on whether she was spending too much time in the gym was - I would much rather have her there than sitting in front of a screen after school, or hanging at the stores with her friends as she got older. Her gym family is irreplaceable. It is her second home and I could not ask for a better setting to help her grow. I am forever grateful for her coaches and teammates. Now, was I concerned about the amount of training she was doing in terms of her health and injuries? Definitely, but we have been very lucky with only a few serious injuries over the years.


Now, having said that, there are options out there to keep her in gymnastics without the excessive commitment needed for JO. She can move to rec or to a rec in-house team. She could move to a less competitive program like xcel, aau, etc.
 

OzZee

Proud Parent
Apr 19, 2012
2,757
But what you think you can manage/allow may well change.
When my eldest was in kindergarten/year 1 I had a one activity once a week rule!!!
Hahaha I would never have imagined the hours and driving and money I spend on the kids now.
And I'm glad I didn't have a crystal ball as I'd have completely different kids now.

And really most sports if the kids are athletic and get into it are similar and involve hours and travel and money.
 

auswi

Proud Parent
Sep 27, 2014
427
Australia
Dd at 6 was a keen dancer- gymnastics hadn't even entered her horizon!!
At age 8 1/2 she was doing a ton of other activities but squeezed in a one hour rec gym class to support her adopted sister who needed her support to be able to join the gym class.
Did very limited hours the next 2 years then was invited to trial elite track at nearly 11..now at 14 is a jun international athlete on huge hours... to cut a long story short as her parents we did a heap of soul searching along the way- but it always came down to- was she thriving? YES, Was she having fun? YES, the best time ever. Was it a 'wasted ' childhood? NO- she thinks she's the luckiest kid ever.
I, too wish I'd realised the commitment earlier ( but quite frankly kept thinking another few months & she'd surely be done!)

For our Dd her gymnastics has helped form her into the young women she is becoming, & she has made some fabulous friends & had some great experiences.

Op, if you decide the commitment is not one you want for your family I would suggest finding another pathway or even activity very soon as the longer your gymnast is in the sport the harder it will be to pull away if that's what you want- we joke our Dd has chalk in her veins!
Good luck
 

my4buffaloes

Proud Parent
Apr 14, 2010
5,287
Midwest
Everyone's path is different - just like the other kids can handle 9 hours a week and yours can only handle 5. However next year 9 might work great. Kids mature and change. I have a dd that it took 10 years to get to level 9. I have a dd that has been in the sport 6 years (competing 4) and will be level 8. Everyone's time frame and route will be different however the goal is typically the same - level 10 eventually. There are so many ways to get there.

You can't determine her path right now - this sport is so unpredictable. But you can either close the door on more hours and more nights of training or you can be open to wherever this path takes you. That is a question for yourself that we can't really help you with. Knowing the real and serious commitment this will take in the long run is the first step in figuring out whether this is something you can pursue or not.
 

LJL07

Proud Parent
Jan 27, 2014
1,859
I would ramp up slowly at that age. My just turned 7 year old was doing a tops program in first grade. Successfully competed 3 and did about 9 hours a week. We will increase hours next year for level 4 and second grade but I'm not doing a full time homeschool program if we do it at all til she's older. Our gym took a kindergarten level 1 for partial homeschool at 15 hours per week and I thought that was absurd. The child is already burning out. There's another really young one going too many hours as well who is starting to burn out. Point being, at their age I think it's important to have them wanting more hours and not overdo it too soon! Fwiw, I do have an older child moving on to level 8, so I'm learning as we go on this crazy journey.
 
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LJL07

Proud Parent
Jan 27, 2014
1,859
Op, if you decide the commitment is not one you want for your family I would suggest finding another pathway or even activity very soon as the longer your gymnast is in the sport the harder it will be to pull away if that's what you want- we joke our Dd has chalk in her veins!
Good luck

I cannot agree MORE with this!!! This has been a huge and stressful commitment that really consumes much of our family's life. I can't pull my older daughter out now for the life of me, and believe me, there have been reasons to do so. Only when she's good and ready. Just know what you are getting into.
 
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flipnastic

Proud Parent
Jan 4, 2016
248
39
Thank you everyone for your input and advice. The biggest relief is hearing that she does not have to do A ton of hours right now, and I think I am putting pressure on myself/a guilt trip wondering if I am doing her a disservice by not letting her go the full 12 hours. ( I put that the other girls were doing nine, but they are actually doing 12 right now). I have suggested many times that she tries a different sport and she just breaks down in tears… she tells me gymnastics is her favorite and she doesn't want to do anything else. She is constantly doing gymnastics on her non-gymnastics days.
Honestly, I think some of us may stem from me being burnt out with life right now.. kindergarten/public school has been really rough on her and so we are planning on homeschooling next year ( for nongymnastics reasons)and I really think that may make a huge difference. I agree that there is so much value in her being at gymnastics instead of daycare, having her wonderful friends on the team and all of the values she is learning.
Anyways, I will see how the summer goes and my husband and I will have conversations with the coaches to figure out the expectations over the next couple of years, and then figure out what is best for all of us. Thank you!
 

OzZee

Proud Parent
Apr 19, 2012
2,757
She may love gymnastics for a year or two or twenty . She may find a new passion (my most passionate gymnast did) .
Unless it's really against your philosophical or financial views then I say see where it goes.
Gymnastics is an amazing foundation for many sports that can come or just great memories, or it can be the driving thing that you remortgage your house and change your life to accommodate. At any point you can change courses for any number of reasons.
Good looking on the home schooling, we are also going down that path essentially for non gym reasons.
 

gymmom41

Proud Parent
Feb 8, 2017
73
46
My daughter went from 1 hour of rec to 6 hours for Levels 1 and 2. 12 hours for Level 3. Now we're at 16-20 for Level 5/6/TOPS. Each time I questioned it being way too much, but said we'd give it a try and see how she did. And like the poster above, she has thrived. So hard to argue with this. Still loves going to gym, doing well in school, not cranky from lack of sleep. So yes, once you get going, there is a lot of momentum to keep going. But you can always reassess and make sure it's still what she wants to be doing most days of the week.
 
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gymnastics24.7

Proud Parent
Apr 23, 2017
37
45
I have 3 dds in gymnastics. 11 yo usag 6, 9 yo usag 8-9 and TOPs, and a 7 year old (8 in July competing two level 7 meets and the rest 8 next season. My 9 yo started gym first and accelerated quickly. Our biggest change for her was going from level 4 to 5. Level 4 trained 12 hours and level 5 went quickly to 20. She goes 5 days a week for 4 hours each time. She is absolutely in LOVE with he sport. As long as she's happy with the sport we will keep on going with the sport! And if she doesn't like more hours she can always switch to a more low key gym or to xcel!
 
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thefellowsmom

Proud Parent
Dec 13, 2010
1,349
I always tell new parents who inquire that you really need to look into your future and decide if you are willing to sacrifice all those driving hours, lost family time, and all that money for gymnastics. If you are not, it is not fair to keep her in competitive gymnastics as it will only be harder for her to give it up later on, if she really loves it. When we started the journey, I researched everything that L10 gymnastics would involve. I had no idea whether dd would make it that far (she did - starting her 3rd yr now) but I wanted to make sure we as a family were prepared to take her all the way if that was her potential. It wasn't easy. We have 2 other children who are in year round sports which makes it even harder but we have found ways to make it work throughout the years. We also homeschool so there is less "school stress" in terms of bedtimes, wake up times, homework, etc.

My take on whether she was spending too much time in the gym was - I would much rather have her there than sitting in front of a screen after school, or hanging at the stores with her friends as she got older. Her gym family is irreplaceable. It is her second home and I could not ask for a better setting to help her grow. I am forever grateful for her coaches and teammates. Now, was I concerned about the amount of training she was doing in terms of her health and injuries? Definitely, but we have been very lucky with only a few serious injuries over the years.


Now, having said that, there are options out there to keep her in gymnastics without the excessive commitment needed for JO. She can move to rec or to a rec in-house team. She could move to a less competitive program like xcel, aau, etc.

This this and more this
 
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Jazzjerz

Proud Parent
Aug 18, 2013
201
I always tell new parents who inquire that you really need to look into your future and decide if you are willing to sacrifice all those driving hours, lost family time, and all that money for gymnastics. If you are not, it is not fair to keep her in competitive gymnastics as it will only be harder for her to give it up later on, if she really loves it. When we started the journey, I researched everything that L10 gymnastics would involve. I had no idea whether dd would make it that far (she did - starting her 3rd yr now) but I wanted to make sure we as a family were prepared to take her all the way if that was her potential. It wasn't easy. We have 2 other children who are in year round sports which makes it even harder but we have found ways to make it work throughout the years. We also homeschool so there is less "school stress" in terms of bedtimes, wake up times, homework, etc.

My take on whether she was spending too much time in the gym was - I would much rather have her there than sitting in front of a screen after school, or hanging at the stores with her friends as she got older. Her gym family is irreplaceable. It is her second home and I could not ask for a better setting to help her grow. I am forever grateful for her coaches and teammates. Now, was I concerned about the amount of training she was doing in terms of her health and injuries? Definitely, but we have been very lucky with only a few serious injuries over the years.


Now, having said that, there are options out there to keep her in gymnastics without the excessive commitment needed for JO. She can move to rec or to a rec in-house team. She could move to a less competitive program like xcel, aau, etc.

I struggle with this concept, because I think if I would have fully realized the level of commitment and time that would be required of us if my daughter chooses to continue down this path, I would not have chosen it. However, at least for the time being, I am on board.

I agree that I would much rather her be doing gym than sitting around, but at the beginning, I would have said that the time and commitment required (at our gym and for her goals) at such a young age was ridiculous. I would be curious how many parents actually were on board with that from the beginning (as you were), vs becoming acclimated to it over time.

I do have fear that if she chooses to stop in a few years she (and I) will regret the time spent and sacrifices made. My comfort comes from hearing parents of older ones tell me that is not the case for their girls.
 

FlippinPrincess

Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2016
255
So, I am curious what your child's journey look like in the early years… I know every child is so so different, but I just want to kind of get an idea for peace of mind, I gues
I struggle with this concept, because I think if I would have fully realized the level of commitment and time that would be required of us if my daughter chooses to continue down this path, I would not have chosen it. However, at least for the time being, I am on board.

I agree that I would much rather her be doing gym than sitting around, but at the beginning, I would have said that the time and commitment required (at our gym and for her goals) at such a young age was ridiculous. I would be curious how many parents actually were on board with that from the beginning (as you were), vs becoming acclimated to it over time.

I do have fear that if she chooses to stop in a few years she (and I) will regret the time spent and sacrifices made. My comfort comes from hearing parents of older ones tell me that is not the case for their girls.

I feel the same way. I almost didn't allow my dd to do team when I saw the level 10 time/financial commitment. However, I have no idea if she'll stay in the sport that long or what her journey in life will be. We took a chance and are happy for now (because she loves it!) I was the same for club soccer but seeing my son work so hard and the happiness he has playing, I don't regret that choice at all. I also think that the skills they are learning will translate into so many other areas that we won't regret her time in the gym.

(For what it's worth, our gym is lower hours and lower fees than many I read about here on CB so that does make the choice a little easier.)
 
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tuckfull

Proud Parent
Mar 16, 2014
149
My DD started team at 6yo also and is training level 8 now. My advice: just take it season by season and see where the path leads. You could end up with a little superstar elite-bound kid OR a kid who ends up rocking Xcel plus another sport OR competes on her high school team years from now and has the time of her life. Or so many other options. And so many other paths in between. There are so many factors that can come into play. A few of the most naturally gifted gymnasts that started pre-team with my DD have have moved on along the way because 1) they wanted to commit to other sports more (dance, soccer, softball, swimming) or 2) the increasing hours and tough conditioning at some point outweighed their love for gymnastics. I never thought my DD would stick with this sport - she's not a naturally talented kid and has dealt with fear issues. But, she's strong and works hard and it seems like the harder the sport gets, the more she loves it. So, you just never know. Yes, its important to know what you COULD be getting yourself into but for now try to focus on the moment and enjoy where she is on her gymnastics journey right now!
 

bookworm

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
I do have fear that if she chooses to stop in a few years she (and I) will regret the time spent and sacrifices made. My comfort comes from hearing parents of older ones tell me that is not the case for their girls.

Fear not! As the parent of two (now ex-) gymnasts, I do not regret the time spent and the sacrifices we all made as a family. My oldest did compete D1 and really loved it but when she graduated , she still had a year of athletic eligibility due to a season ending injury one year but she didn't even consider it further....her take was "after 18 years of doing this mum, my body's done" and she moved on to grad school and is quite happy.

My younger daughter was on a similar path , multi year 10, committed to a D1 school and then in her Jr year, she gets what proves to be a career ending injury ....and we were done with gym...done with the 200 mile RT commute daily...done with seeing the folks at the gym daily....done with changing our schedules for gym events or practices....it was over. But do I regret the 18 years I carted my girls to and from gym practices and meets and all the time spent on the sport? No because it made them both the kids they are today... and I got to spend a lot of time with them ( in our endless commute ).

Would I put them in the sport knowing what I know now about how the sport is trending ? I'm not sure but I don't regret the choices we made back then.
 
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