I was looking for an activity that was fun, healthy, and could help build my child's self esteem, when I brought my preschooler to her trial lesson at our local gymnastics club. My daughter started with a “mommy and me” class and progressed to recreational gymnastics, and then team. I have found that a positive environment with a supportive coaching staff can do wonders for a child's confidence. My daughter's coaches celebrate her accomplishments with her as well as encourage her through rough patches. The coaches take extra time to work with my daughter to figure out where her strengths and weaknesses are, and then they zero in and create a custom training program based on her needs.
I have spent countless hours watching figure skating, soccer, football, fencing, and cheerleading practices. Over the past few years, it has become evident to me that gymnastics provides the basic building blocks for all other sports. At the gym, my children have grown socially through making new friends and learning team building skills. My son took the skills he was taught in a recreational gymnastics class to improve his strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, and discipline on the football field.
Karen B. from Hopewell Junction, NY, mother of an eleven year old girl, said, “I feel gymnastics has benefited my daughter because she is in the best shape of her life. It has taught her about competition, winning and losing, and striving for a goal; and most important, she is doing what she loves to do.”
Gymnastics is more than just learning how to do a cartwheel or balance on a four inch beam. The skills learned in a gymnastics class introduces children to an active lifestyle. Whether your child aspires to be an Olympic gymnast, a football star, or the CEO of their own company, gymnastics is a great start. For more information on gymnastics clubs in your area, go to http://usagym.org/pages/usagymclub/findagym.html .
But if it’s not gymnastics, that’s fine. Every child is good at something and has interests based around their talents. It is important to open up a dialogue with your child to find out what would interest them before enrolling them in an activity. Discuss what things your child likes to do in their free time. Offer options that compliment their interests. An artistic child might be interested in a ceramics class or an active child might benefit from a dance class. It is important to take into consideration the time commitment needed and respect your limitations. After you and your child have come up with a few options, do your research. Check out the phone book and internet to see what is available in your area and ask other parents for their input.