Dont’s for Parents of Gymnasts
Gymnasts are a very special group! Gymnastics is a sport that helps children develop their agility and strength, determination, and discipline. Gymnastics is also fun! Children who do gymnastics often have a positive attitude, greater self-confidence, and a very positive self-image. Overall, gymnastics is a great sport for kids of almost all ages.
If your child is a gymnast, there are many things you can do as a parent to encourage them. Knowing what to do and what not to do as a parent of a gymnast can help your child build a healthy relationship with their sport.
Don't put pressure on your gymnast.
Gymnastics is a competitive sport, but your child should be able to decide for themselves what level of competition they want to achieve in their sport. Don't put pressure on your child to participate in more competitions. There are many things you can do to make your child feel pressured - avoid them all!
Never compare your child's progress with that of other children in the class. Don't emphasize your child's failures - celebrate his or her successes! When celebrating your child's success, don't simultaneously teach him or her to judge the other children in the class, and don't point out that your child would do worse gymnastics or be a disappointment if he or she couldn't do all that he or she currently can.
If your child is competing, do not place too much importance on the judges' scores. This is especially important when your gymnast is younger.
If your gymnast wants to improve, don't push him or her to set unrealistic goals. Avoid pressuring your child about developing new skills. If your child does his best in gymnastics, that's all you can expect!
Focus on having fun.
Gymnastics is about fun and always should be. Competitions need to be fun, too! If your child participates in gymnastics competitions, make sure they understand that competing should be about having fun first and competing second.
Don't put pressure on your child by making him or she believe that he or she should participate in gymnastics competitions when he or she is older or that the purpose of gymnastics is to get a scholarship to college. Focus on short-term gymnastics. Don't worry about how important gymnastics will be to your child's life in the long term. He or she may not choose gymnastics until adulthood, but that is not your decision.
Don't make gymnastics your personal business.
Your child should do gymnastics for himself, not for you. Don't tempt him to think of it as a personal favor he is doing for you. On the other hand, don't make him feel guilty about the time, effort, and money you invest in his participation in gymnastics.
Don't remind it of your own gymnastics career or how well you did at a young age. If your child wants to quit gymnastics, let him do so. It should be gymnastics for its own good, not yours. Just allow your child to enjoy gymnastics for what it is.
Be supportive of your child's interests.
As a parent of a gymnast, you should try to find out what your child needs to enjoy gymnastics. Does he enjoy participating in class? Has his enjoyment decreased or increased in recent months/years? Does he/she need anything to continue to enjoy gymnastics?
Your child might ask for special equipment at home, a new leotard, help with an exercise to help develop his strength - whatever he needs, show him the support that will help him progress in his sport! Your child will thank you for it.
Do not tolerate unacceptable behavior - either from your gymnasts or from you.
Participation in gymnastics class is a privilege that your child should enjoy. Part of participating in gymnastics class is listening to the coaches, treating them with respect, and treating other children with respect as well. If your child has trouble following any of these rules, remind him or her that gymnastics is supposed to be fun for everyone, including the coaches and the other kids.
You can set a good example for your gymnast by not talking badly about the coach or other children and by not gossiping about other children during gymnastics.