Parents when did your child specialize?

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Proud Parent
Oct 10, 2008
I'm curious as to what your experiences have been.

At what age did your child start to specialize? My 5 year old daughter also does dance, is eager to start tennis next month and is very much looking forward to her second year of summer swim team. I suspect if I offered her spring baseball or soccer, she'd take that up too.

I'm wondering if there is a magic age where kids often try to form an identity around an activity.
My oldest decided between ski racing and comp gym at 7, the youngest just followed in her sisters footsteps but tried other stuff too.

Though mine only do 11 and 9 hours of gym a week, so they do still do lots of other things, but not as regular after school activities as gym covers 5 nights a week for one or the other of them.

They love to skate, ski, swim, bike ride, plat tennis etc etc. Littlest is doing a mime and magic class right now that she just loves. Variety is good if you can make it work. At 5 it is so nice for them to be able to sample lots of things, it is amazing to see how they can learn so much whilst having fun.
My dd is only 7 so she really hasn't had time to 'specialize' in anything. Honestly, she loves gymnastics too much! We've asked her numerous times if she wanted to sign up for something else but she said no because she'd probably have to give up gymnastics! Who knows, she may change her mind at anytime. For now, I'm just enjoying her being involved in one sport, especially one she's so passionate about. :)
My DD (who just turned 14) decided to stick w/gymnastics when she was 10. I know that is late for her to really go anywhere with it, but I am glad that she had taken gymnastics, dance, ice skating, piano lessons, softball, etc. We were never really interested in trying to get her to stick w/one thing. I never had the opportunity as a child to try different sports or activities. My parents couldn't afford anything like that for their kids, so I wanted DD to try everything she wanted!
My daughter did a year of tap/ballet when she was 3 and didn't really care for it. She loved the big recital at the end. It was the day to day stuff that bored her to tears. She took a year off and the following year she tried cheerleading. She liked that okay it just wasn't run very well. So, when she was 6 we decided to give gymnastics a shot and it was instant love! I guess with her we just knew. We were lucky. We didn't have to force her to practice or beg her to go to class she just did because she wanted to. That's when I knew this was her sport :)
My dd started a recreational gymnastics class when she was 6. The cheer coach at the gym "recruited" her for cheer so she did the All Star cheer thing for the next three years. She wanted a break from that so last April when she was 9 years old she switched to a MDL gymnastics program where she competes for Level 4. It seems like she is going back and forth between the cheer and gymnastics which seem to compliment each other in certan ways.
My oldest Dd who just turned 12 started rec gymnastics at 4. She also played soccer and took swim lessons. She finished the swim series at 6yrs old and had no interest in swim team. By then, soccer had become boring (it was just clinic for that age group at the time) so we found a new gym at 7, she was asked to join the team, and the rest is "history". She gave up other sports but remained active in Girl Scouts. This year she also did town, competition and All Star cheering.

Little Monkey was literally born into gymnastics, lol. By 3 she was taking rec classes and by 5.5 she was on the Level 4 team training for the following season when she could compete as a 6 yr old. She did her stint at swim class too, and was asked to be on the team at 4 but she felt very intimidated and quit swimming. This year, at 8 she also dabbled in cheering, but she is not planning to do it again next yr. She is a gymnast through and through.
Bean tried all kinds of activities before finding gymnastics. She did 6 levels of swimming lessons, 2 winters of ice skating, a season of dance, a 12 week session of rhythmic gymnastics, 6 months of piano, and finally tried out for an entry to competitive program at her gym a few months after turning 7!

The day of the try-outs, she was hooked! Everything they tested and tried was a challenge to embrace.

She's never been happier and never looked back! When they find the passion, you know!
My dd did a mommy and me class at gymnastics when she was little then we quit.She wanted to go back around 4 did preschool,rec1,2 and 3 started L2 team at 6 1/2 now she is almost 9 and will be moving to team 5 in summer.She tried a ballet class when she was around 4 but she was to active for the class.she did cheerleading for about a yr when she was 6 but when she got on team she choose it.In the past I have tried to get her try other things.she has been in a very active girls scout troop since she was 6 and loves it.She took up horseback riding when she was 7 1/2 had now doing some local horse shows which she loves she is an outdoor kid loves nature and animals.Being involved in 3 activites is the most we can handle.She would have a tough time choosing between them,
My daughter did alot of activites before joining the gymnastics team at 7. When she was two she did dance, she wanted to follow in her sister footsteps than at 5 she did swimming her sister is a swimmer she also did soccer, cheerleading, brownies and t ball. When she was 4 I enrolled her in a tumbling class she really liked it than we decided to go to a real gym her current gym. While she was in the preteam class she was still able to do other things but when she got on the team it conflicted with alot so I made her choose. She still does dance once a week which she loves, and eventhough I kind of feel guilty she really does love gymnastics the best and she never complains about missing the other activities let alone birthday parties. She is 8 now. If she wants to stay in competitive gymnastics it really does limit her with other activites which I do worry about her missing out but it is her decision. The good part is that gymnastics really keeps them fit and I think if she decided to do other sports it would be a easy transition.
My oldest dd is going to be 5 at the end of the month and started gymnastics when she was 2. She also does dance but that is it as far as sports/activities goes. I asked if she wanted to sign up for soccer or t ball but all she wants to do is gymnastics! Maybe that will change as she gets older but for now all she wants to do is be in the gym.
My girls have always done other sports/activities in addition to gymnastics. I didn't want them to grow to hate gymnastics because they had to give everything else up for it. That said--Sami (my oldest) did drop swim team when she made the gymnastics team--both had the same season, so that didn't work. And Beth dropped spring soccer because she didn't like being that busy.

Sami still does tennis and Beth did play soccer for her school last fall.
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