Gymnastics for Kids – When, Why and How?
“ I live in Melbourne, When should I sign my child up for gymnastics?” The quick answer is NOW!
When Should Kids Start Gymnastics?
If you wanted a one-word response, it’d be – NOW!
Most Gyms offer Parent-Tot classes starting as young as 12 months old. Is this necessary? Of course not. Is this an excellent opportunity for you and your little one to explore the active world of walking, crawling, jumping, rolling, hopping, climbing, and swinging together? Absolutely. Bonus: it’s a social event for both of you!
Some parents aren’t able (or don’t have the desire) to run around the gym with their tot. If this is the case, 3-year-olds are usually able to attend class on their own. Does your child have to start this young to be successful? No! Is it a significant activity to prepare for school and provide enjoyment and physical development? Yes! (I’m aware a bit of the WHY is slipping in here – it’s hard to resist).
Some kids don’t get the opportunity to try gymnastics until later in life. Is it still worth trying? Definitely! Many gyms offer gymnastics and tumbling classes that are exclusively designed for teens. If you’re fortunate, you’ll find a gym with an adult class!
I’ve had parents ask if their child needed to know how to do a forward roll, be potty trained or follow directions before starting gymnastics. Nope. The forward roll will be taught, try a Parent-Tot class if your little one is yet to be diaper-free, and learn to follow directions is part of the gymnastics experience! If your child is disruptive, you may be asked to tag along . . . Stick with it, and find a coach that has excellent class management skills.
Why Should Kids do Gymnastics?
If I had your attention for the next several hours, I’d give you a thorough answer. I’m betting I’ve got quite a bit less time, so I’ll keep it short(er).
- Social Skills: peer interaction, taking turns, watching, listening, teamwork.
- Cognitive Skills: focus, memorization, problem-solving, following instructions.
- Confidence: achievement, overcoming fear, goal-setting, work-ethic, commitment.
- Physical Development: strength, flexibility, coordination, speed, balance, endurance.
- Fun: games, music, swinging, flipping, twisting, flying!
How Can You Get Involved?
Locate your local gyms: Infinity Gymnastics and Dance in Melbourne provides a quick way to find gymnastics programs in your area.
Compare your local gyms: After you have found gyms within a comfortable commute, compare! If you have multiple options in your area, walk into them all. Observation is key. If you’re interested in the competitive program, watch a team workout. Talk to the director. If you want a recreational approach, observe a class your child will be attending. Ask about extra programs and activities that may be offered. Decide which gym “feels right.”
Sign-up: Although many gyms offer a free trial class, this is not an adequate amount of time to evaluate if your child likes gymnastics. I suggest committing to at least one month. If your child is struggling, talk to the coach or try a different class.