For Parents ? re: 5 y/o intimitated by "big girls"?

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Feb 25, 2009
Hi all, I have a 5 y/o that just loves gymnastics. She does gymnastics all over the house, all the time. I have her in a rec class 2x/week (each class 1 hour 15 minutes). The problem I am having is in the one class she is by far the youngest kid. She is catching on really fast, but I am getting the impression she is initimated by the "big girls". Or maybe it is the gym is more crowded than too. I am not sure, I can't figure out what she is trying to tell me. She is having a hard time putting her feelings into words. One of her recent coaches wants her on a preteam this summer (they don't have one yet, and I guess are hoping to have one this summer).
Anyone else have experience with this? I just want her to have a lot of fun. I am afraid if she has a bad experience that she will want to quit. The last 2 times she had class with the older girls she didn't seem as happy as when she had it with the girls that were only 1 year older.
She is our energy kid and needs to be in an activity. She chose gymnastics, and refuses to even try anything else.
Any suggestions or advice? Oh, I think the coach she has with the big girls is the owner (he seems really nice, I just don't know him well)
My oldest, who is now 12, was terrified of the teenagers when she was 5. We trained in a high school and we would arrive to set up the gym and train just as high school was emptying out. She would jst hate to be the little one "down there' when the big kids all streamed around her. She just got used to it as there was no other option. She was the youngest in her training group aged 5-16, they would split into smaller groups but she was always the little one. It was funny to read your post as now she is one of the oldest and "best" in the gym and it is hard to remember those days of fear and newness.

She probably will get used to it, you could ask for an older kid to mentor your little one, be a big sister etc. your little one could then have someone to look up to and feel safe with.
Hi, thanks for the advice. I think I will try and see if I can talk a bigger girl into keeping an eye out for my little one. It's funny, I know she loves gymnastics - and she likes big girls, but I guess she just is nervous/initimated with all the big girls (the majority of the girls I think are closer to 9 y/o)
okay, so I don't know how to edit my post - but realized I spelled intimidated wrong. Hopefully you know what I meant. I guess that is what happens when I'm up all night with a baby. Oops!
I think it's a great idea to have one of the older girls look out for her. It would be fun for both of them!
Does she say why she feels intimidated by them? Do they say things that are not encouraging or nice to her? My DD LOVES all the big girls at her gym, at least the ones on team. Sometimes, older girls are jealous of a younger girl doing the same skills or harder skills than they are and will say things that aren't nice. I know that it happened with my DD and her best gym bud. They are the youngest competing and before their first meet, a girl kept telling them that they weren't/couldn't be competing because they were only 6/7 years old. She told them they had to give her a dollar if she didn't see them at the meet. ???

For the most part, I think the older gymnasts usually love the littler ones, but I do think it is more common on team. Rec classes are a whole different ball game. At the 2 gyms I have taken DD to, both had preschool/kindergym classes until you turned 6. Then level 1 started 6 and up, so you had lots of different ages, but for the younger ones, you were with girls your age.

I would definitely try to find a "big sister" for her, that might help her out. :D
Thanks for the advice. Well tonight my dd had the class with the older girls and she did great. Had a blast and can't wait for more. She did comment on the way to the gym that she is "getting use to those bigger girls and not going to let them skip her in line" she also hinted at exactly what you said - someone must have said something that made her feel bad. I introduced her to a few girls at the start of class and set up a play date of open gym with one of the moms. I think this will help. Thanks. I feel stupid though because I called the gym and asked a coach she had if he had any advice, or how common this was, etc. Boy, do I feel stupid. I better just sit back and enjoy the ride.
My younger dd (just turned 5 last week) does NOT like to be with the older girls, she loves gym and would never quit. She has one class a week where she is really a lot younger than the other girls. I don't know if she will last either, so I feel for you. I don't think the older girls are mean, they just are scary and bigger and call her "munchkin" I had to ask the right questions to my dd to find out what the frustration was and have talked to the coach in hopes that we can stick it out.

It sounds like she is geting the hang of it, and there was some little thing in her world that was not right, hopefully it is all better now.
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