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For Parents Advice Needed :)

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FlippinPrincess

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She could also be struggling with focus because she's bored and she keeps being moved around. No team to achieve and work hard with, no coach to help you, etc. She finally sees a friend who is familiar and fun, of course she'd prefer to hang out with her - she's 6.

My daughter did level 3 last year. This year she will repeat or move to 4. She will not go back to preteam. That is just not how it works and I would not deal with the mess you are dealing with at that gym.
 

mommyof1

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If she is 6 years old and runs off from her assigned group, that is a red flag that she is not ready for team-track training. At age 6 she shouldn’t be expected to have the focus of an Olympic gymnast, but she should be able to stay with her group and follow directions with no drama. If she doesn’t like her group or class, the age-appropriate response is to complain to you about it afterwards, not to run away in the middle of practice to join another group. The fact that the gym is allowing this behavior is concerning. In my experience, a well-run, organized gym will not permit even preschoolers to run away from their classes.

In your shoes, I’d either have her take a break from gymnastics or put her in rec for a year at a different gym with a more structured program. I would not have her try the team track again until you have a solid plan in place to address the focus issues, which will probably include addressing the sleep apnea in some way. As someone who has experience working with kids, I will tell you that it’s next to impossible to successfully teach a kid with attention issues in an extracurricular setting unless the parents have the kid on a solid plan and share their behavior management strategies with the instructor.
 
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Flippin'A

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She's already had a successful level 2 competition season, right? I agree it's worrying that the coaches allowed her to run off to another group, but I honestly think that has more to do with being unhappy at being demoted (which she absolutely was) and being bored than indicating that she is now incapable of team level training. It's one thing to hold off on putting a kid in team because of maturity issues, but it's a completely different thing to have a team level gymnast, with a competition season under her belt, suddenly practicing a quarter of the hours with significantly less advanced students. It's a recipe for boredom and frustration. I also have experience working with kids and if a kid is already prone to focus issues then guaranteeing she's going to be bored is the worst possible course of action. I'm sorry, there are teams that successfully integrate four year olds into practices. A good coach is able to handle kids of different ages and maturity levels and work with the parent on some of the strategies others have discussed (sticker charts, for example) to get the gymnast where she needs to be. I'm baffled that, after reading your description, some are telling you to put her back in rec. Find a gym that's able and willing to work with her in a class that's appropriate to her (can help her with focus while still being developmentally high enough gymnastics wise) and yes, help her in any way you can outside of the gym. But don't stick her with a group learning to cartwheel and expect her to magically want to pay attention to that.
 

mommyof1

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The reason I am suggesting a break or (advanced) rec is that the parents don’t seem to have a handle on the attention issues. When I worked with kids I found it most successful to adopt the behavior management strategies that were already being used at home and at school. The parents whose kids struggled were the ones who didn’t have a consistent plan implemented across all areas of the child’s life.

I also think that allowing a child to run off and do whatever she wants is a sign of a poorly run program. And when my daughter was that age and level, all the kids who resisted practicing with the group (balked at going in to practice, ran to their parents during practice, etc.) really didn’t want to be there and ended up quitting sooner or later. One wise mom whose daughter was newly diagnosed with ADHD wound up pulling the kid from gymnastics until the treatment and behavior management plan had stabilized. Preteam was just too much for the kid at that point. She later put the kid back in a structured, progressive rec program at another gym and offered her the option to try out for the team track again. The child was happy in the high-quality rec program and opted not to go back to preteam.
 
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