For Parents New to Gymnastics (toddler)

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skygirlpc

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Hi -
I'm new here and to the world of gymnastics. I know my daughter is very young and things could change a lot quickly but I thought I'd get some advice from you experienced parents.

My daughter turned two in January and has been taking two "mommy & me" classes a week. (She takes two because she enjoys them so much and there are things about each one that we like) I am single and work full time so my sister takes her to these classes. Apparently the coaches are very impressed with her strength and enjoyment of the sport. They also say she follows directions very well. I love that she is getting the socialization, and physical activity as well as the fact that she just loves it.

I have no idea what to watch for like what she should not be doing yet. I have learned from this forum that she should not be doing backbends yet (which she is not doing at either class). Is there anything else that I should be watching for? If my sister and I feel good about the gym and the coaches can we trust our intuition?

Thank you in advance for any advice that you can give me.
 
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SurpriseGymMom

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I'm glad your little one is enjoying physical activity and gross motor skills! At this age, it's all about fun. There should be some (but minimal) introduction to actual gymnastics skills. It's wonderful that she enjoys it and that she is able to follow directions!
If she still loves it come age 4-5, awesome, that's about when they start learning some basic gymnastics and get a little more into it.
If you want to get a feel for the gym, take a look at the older rec classes and then go from there. It's way too early to think about anything other than "she's having fun, great!", but at the same time it does make sense to try and figure out whether your gym is going to be a potentially good spot to keep going (assuming that she still likes it in 3 mo....or 3years....). I'm a firm believer in getting the best education possible, no matter what you end up doing with it. If my kid wants to dance, then she is going to be in a studio that teaches it well from the foundation up, even if she decides at age 5 that she no longer wants to be a princess ballerina, lol!
So look at the older rec classes and see how they are ran. Do they teach progressive skills or is it more of a free for all baby sitting with games? Stuff like that.
But mostly, relax and let her have fun with it!!
 

ldw4mlo

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Having fun. At that age they should be having fun.
 

rjb123

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A place where she has fun and wants to go back. :) when I took DD at four I thought it was a hug bonus that I didn't have to participate and got to chat with moms during the class! LOL! Stickers at the end for good behavior is great too!
 
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skygirlpc

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Thanks Ladies! I actually get to go tonight so I will get to experience it first hand for the first time. She LOVES it and is always doing handstands against the wall (walking her feet up), forwards rolls, table tops and all her other "skills" at home. Her coach as already told my sister that they have a team that starts at age 3 and that she is watching my daughter for that team. I'm thrilled that she loves it and is showing so much ability but I also don't want to push her. I plan to talk to the coach about what a team for a 3yr old looks like and get more details on that before just jumping into it.
 

GymDad9.9

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Thanks Ladies! I actually get to go tonight so I will get to experience it first hand for the first time. She LOVES it and is always doing handstands against the wall (walking her feet up), forwards rolls, table tops and all her other "skills" at home. Her coach as already told my sister that they have a team that starts at age 3 and that she is watching my daughter for that team. I'm thrilled that she loves it and is showing so much ability but I also don't want to push her. I plan to talk to the coach about what a team for a 3yr old looks like and get more details on that before just jumping into it.
Enjoy and savor...
 

sce

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seriously, who has a 3 year old team ? That would be akin to herding cats !
Seriously, to me team is something kids need to choose as well. A 3yr old is way too young to understand a choice like that. I would also be nervous about any gym that has a team for such hung kids. Their bodies are not decked enough to train some skills yet.
 

duyetanh

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Every gym is different. Some gyms actually do compete level 1. Ours doesnt; we start at lvl 3...and some start at 4. But my dd has found many lvl 1 videos on YouTube, and the girls definitely are YOUNG. Perhaps it is a preteam that prepares them for lvl 1? Sorry for speculating O.P....it's great she is doing well. And how nice you got to watch!
 

CTMOM

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My DD started preteam at 4, but did not start competing until 6. Looking back, it was a struggle given her age (she had the skills, but not the maturity). Our gym no longer does that. They have a Hot Shots class for 4-6 year olds and then they can be selected for preteam/team. IMO, 3 is way too young for anything more than having fun.
 
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Iwannabemargo

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yep, but remember the OP's daughter is only just two ! Many successful gymnasts don't step into the gym until they are 6 or more so maybe time to slow down a bit and enjoy having baby fun.
 
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ROMfan

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While I 100% agree that at age 2/3 the gym should be all about fun...well, there are quite a few 7 year old level 7s out there.

And they don't generally walk in the gym at 6 and a year later compete optionals

So I'd say, not at all odd to have pre-team preschoolers. Or am I wrong?
 

ldw4mlo

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While I 100% agree that at age 2/3 the gym should be all about fun...well, there are quite a few 7 year old level 7s out there.

And they don't generally walk in the gym at 6 and a year later compete optionals

So I'd say, not at all odd to have pre-team preschoolers. Or am I wrong?
I think that even gifted 2/3 yr olds are doing tricks because they are gifted and it's fun.

Even in "school" a preschool class is structured different then a second grade class.

The expectations for the age are different. At 2/3 is supposed to be fun, safe and developmentally appropriate.

JO levels 1-3 are not mandatory. Really they are about getting kids used to competeing. Again the expectations is different.

It's supposed to be fun.
 

samsmama

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OP, I think it's great that your daughter is having so much fun and shows some promise. Congrats!

From my own experience (admittedly limited to my two kids), kids change so much in the preschool/elementary years that it's hard to know where their ultimate interests and talents will lie.

My daughter loved ballet at 2 and showed some promise, but was over it by 5. She then started ice skating, again had some ability, but lost interest a few years later. We went through similar patterns with tae kwon do and tennis. She is now 12 and very academically and musically inclined. I'm glad I didn't push for her to stay with any of those activities once she lost interest -- ultimately, none of them would have suited who she is now.

My gymnast is my son, and while he found his passion earlier than his sister, he also went through a few other activities before settling on gymnastics. He took an intro class at 6 and joined team at 7. He now has almost no time to try anything else, so I'm glad he got that chance earlier.

So have fun and enjoy it! But, maybe also give her a chance to try other things while she's little. Gymnastics is definitely a sport the kid needs to choose, knowing that it often means giving up nearly everything else.
 
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Iwannabemargo

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I think proportionally there are very, very few 7 year old level 7's, and with the burn out and injury opportunities in the sport so there should be.

The point is there is no need to rush, all these little internet phenoms seem to have parents pushing them to more and more. If the child is truly naturally gifted, not just really good as most good gymnasts are, they can easily catch up and surpass little Suzie who has been in training since she was just out of nappies if they do waltz into the gym at 7.
 
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ProudDad

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I think proportionally there are very, very few 7 year old level 7's
Given that USAG requires reaching 7th birthday by the time you hit state meet for levels 4-7 is suspect you are correct. Our gyms youngest level 7 is (a recent)10 and is typically in the Child A division. She will be in child B for state this year, but the child A has over a year age range (down to 8 ) and B is less than 6mo.
 
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