I would never consider myself “a gymnast”, although I did dream of becoming the next Dominique Moceanu in elementary school. I never did become an adorable Olympian gymnast, but I did take classes as a child and had the pleasure of coaching gymnastics for a couple of years in a really great gym in NYC. I taught every age from 6 months to 14 years old. As a coach, I really enjoyed getting to know all of the parents and watching their little ones grow and learn so much while having such a great time. I looked forward to the day I would sign my own child up for classes and watch them learn from gymnastics classes, lessons that prepare them for life.
Fast forward a few years, and here we are! My daughter and I love going to gymnastics classes together. We are making memories while she learns so much! Over the years, I’ve seen toddler and young children gain many new skills, both physical and mental from taking gymnastics. Now, I am watching my daughter learn the same. If you are considering signing up your kids for gymnastics class, expect them to finish the semester a brighter, stronger more independent child.
10 Things Kids Will Learn from Gymnastics:
When a child learns to walk down a balance beam by themselves, swing on the bars or walk on their tip-toes, they are learning to master skills, new skills that may seem small to us, but are huge for them. As they learn to master these skills they are learning they are capable. Each mastered skill gives them the confidence to know they are capable. This confidence will inspire them to try and do more difficult skills, in and out of gymnastics class.
Just as in any organized sport, kids must follow certain rules and instructions in class. They will learn to follow rules that keep them safe. They will also learn to follow directions on how to complete a skill correctly. It takes self-discipline to not only try new skills multiple times, but to do these skills correctly. Plus, if you have a good coach, they will learn that when rules aren’t followed, there will be consequences.
Holding their own body weight up with their arms, balancing on one foot, pulling themselves up on the bar and jumping off of a spring board, will certainly gain strength. What’s more than that, is that they will learn to control their strength. They will learn how to use their leg muscles when necessary, the difference between their bicep and triceps and the importance of a strong core. Then, there’s mental strength. It takes a strong-willed child to continuously get up and try no matter how many times they fall down.
So many of these skills come in two parts. It’s probably obvious that being able to balance is one skill your child will learn from gymnastics. Between the balance beam, handstands, and just walking in releve, your child will learn how to use their core and concentration to balance. However, they will also learn to balance their life and priorities. If they stick with the sport, balancing school, family, friends, and gymnastics will be a skill that will learn to master quickly.
No one becomes a gymnast overnight. It takes a lot of hard work and patience. Your child will learn to be patient with themselves and with their classmates as they learn and try to master to new skills. They will learn to wait, listen and be respectful of their coaches and their peers.
- Social Skills
Your child will take class with a variety of other children. They will learn to take turns, how to motivate one another, the importance of teamwork, the fact that we all have different strengths, and how to make new friends. A coach cannot be with every student at every moment. Your child will learn to listen to directions and follow them on their own at certain stations. They will have to take responsibility for themselves as they practice specific skills and learn to ask questions when necessary.
- Large motor skills/coordination
Learning to control your body and to be aware of your surrounding is a huge part of gymnastics. Your child will learn to control their limbs, tighten their core, and use spatial awareness as they tumble, run, and jump around the gym. Skills that seem simple to us, such as jumping with two feet, walking with your heels down, and tucking your head in before doing a roll, may seem simple to adults, but these large motor skills can be difficult for many children. Gymnastics is one of the best places for them to learn to move and use their body correctly.
- Healthy lifestyle
Staying active and finding a sport or activity that you enjoy is very important when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. Your child may not become a competitive gymnast, but they will set up habits that last them a lifetime. The exercises and movements they learn from gymnastics will encourage them to participate in a variety of activities and appreciate their strong healthy bodies.
Sticking with a sport (even if just for a season), perfecting moves and practicing new skills will teach your child the importance of dedication. They will learn that it’s okay to fail and to try and try again when you want to be successful… one of life’s most important lessons!
Some of our favorite Nashvile gyms:
- Harpeth Gymnastics
- Let it Shine
- Nashville Gymnastics Training Center
- Music City Gymnastics and Cheer
Is your child currently in gymnastics? Where do they go? What have they learned?