Have you noticed how little children interact with the world? You’ll see them happy the most when they play, and you’ll see them most content when you show affection. In other words, they communicate mostly through physical touch and play.
Children learn about the world around them when they explore. They touch objects and examine them with their hands. They also learn when they play. You’ll see them discovering the joy of games, especially when they’re with children the same age.
It is from these activities that you’ll first notice your child’s interest in sports, and often, with their body’s flexibility, they become absorbed in tumbling and rolling. Before you know it, you have a gymnast in your midst.
Interest in sports can play a more serious role as your child grows. Principles like discipline and teamwork can become part of their lives. For sports enthusiasts like you, this can be a proud achievement.
So as early as now, if you notice your child engrossed in gymnastics, cultivate it. To further help you with this, here are some tips.
Encourage Your Child to Have Fun
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that the most important thing when teaching children about sports is remembering that it’s all about fun. If your child enjoys what they’re doing, they will be more motivated to continue doing it. Children enthusiastic about what they’re doing will not feel pressured later on as they get more serious with a sport they’ve chosen to play.
To emphasize fun, get your entire family involved. Watch gymnast routines together. Jump and tumble together as you play. Imitate gymnast moves with your child. Do anything with the family that can promote a happy and fun environment. The AAP further explains that children will more likely play or enjoy a sport that their parents love.
If your child has playmates who are also interested in gymnastics, encourage them to pretend play as gymnasts. That’s also one good way of encouragement.
Do Not Pressure Your Child Into It
It would help if you weren’t pressuring your child to do gymnastics unless they’ve shown you enough grit. At a young age, they may not actually show that yet.
Instead, encourage your child to do gymnastics at a level that is comfortable for them. A time will come when your child can handle more serious moves. That will be your indicator that they’re ready to level up. For now, provide them with the encouragement, support, and nurturing they need.
Aside from the mental aspect, you also have to look into the physical impact of gymnastics. It is never good to overdo it. If making gymnastics moves starts to cause your child pain, tell them to stop immediately. Identify the level of pain and where exactly does it hurt. If nothing is too serious, let your child slow down. There are fewer demanding moves that your child can do.
Provide a Safe Environment
There are several ways on how you can provide a safe environment for your child during play. Equipment, play area, and clothing are key areas you should pay attention to. When everything is proper, you don’t have to worry about your child getting hurt while playing.
Your little kid may not need gymnastics equipment right now, but they can use some things to support gymnastics moves and practice at home. Cushions, a trampoline, exercise balls, and a jungle gym can all be used as substitutes for the real thing. Place all of this equipment where your child can play safely. If possible, add padding to the floors and walls of your child’s play area.
Wearing the right and comfortable clothing for gymnastics is also important.
In the same way, it’s your job to set limits for play. This can be a good start in training. You can set a limit to when your child can only do gymnastics. You can also, more importantly, set a limit to where your child can only play. A designated room for play can be a safer environment, especially if it has the necessary equipment for kids’ gymnastics.
Boost Your Little Gymnast’s Self-Confidence
Enrolling your child in toddler tumbling classes can be a good start in teaching confidence. There is a high risk of injury for gymnasts who have low self-esteem and self-belief. Proper, professional classes can teach young children the discipline and confidence to execute gymnastics moves properly. Although tumbling classes are mostly for the little ones, they can also serve as a good training ground for older children.
Teaching children mental toughness and athleticism can also increase their confidence. With resilience, children can become stronger in the face of adversity. With athleticism, your child becomes more eager and willing to learn more about the sports. You should encourage these traits, especially if your child wants to continue doing gymnastics in the long run.
What Matters Most — A Reminder to Sports-Loving Parents
Gymnastics can be beneficial for your young one. It promotes sportsmanship and social skills building, teaches flexibility and coordination, fosters discipline and determination, and helps your child have a stronger and healthier body.
Knowing this can help you encourage and support your child more in the sport. However, there might come a time when you’ll forget that your child is doing all of this because of their love for it. When that time comes, step back. Remind yourself that yes, it’s all about having fun.