Why non-competitive gymnastics is the right choice for my family
Unless you live under a rock, you’re probably aware that the summer Olympics recently wrapped up. With amazing performances from the United States and big names being flashed all over the internet and TV, it is no wonder that my children are even more obsessed with gymnastics now than they ever were before. I fully support gymnastics classes, and all of my kids have taken them, with my oldest going weekly to a local gym. They do NOT do gymnastics competitions, though.
Children are pushed to always do better. In some context, I think adults are, too, but children specifically don’t always understand this pressure. Some handle it in stride, but many others internalize this, beat themselves up, and slowly suffer all while putting on a brave smile. I am a really good mom, but even I still can’t always tell which type of children I have, so I carefully help them choose activities that will build them up.
In my opinion (and maybe a few experts agree), here are some benefits of participating in non-competitive gymnastics:
I can’t confidently say that competitive gymnastics isn’t fun, but I can 100% say that non-competitive gymnastics definitely is. Kids are in school nearly 40 hours a week if you include breaks and bus rides. They need to decompress. With homework and other projects after school, they just need some good fun. Rolls, flips, doing a silly dance, hanging up-side-down … Fun!
It builds confidence.
Each and every goal in non-competitive gymnastics is internally set. Instructors keep the children safe and provide demonstrations, and then each child determines how far they want to push. Every time you do better than you expected, your confidence grows a little. It’s human nature. Many aspects of gymnastics are just about overcoming fears.
There is no ugliness.
I think we’ve all heard the stories of sore losers or the over zealous bragging winner or, even worse, their parents. When no one is winning or losing, all parents show up with their support hats on. Our kids don’t need us to fight their battles for them, nor do they always need to be pitted against one another. They just need support and our involvement.
For weekly gymnastics class, most kids show up in a pair of cotton shorts and a t shirt. There is no gear, no fancy leotards, no special braces or chalk or shoes or hair-styling items. Half the kids are still wearing what they went to school in. The only cost for the class is the class itself.
It’s okay to be sick.
I think my favorite part of non-competitive gymnastics is that if we miss a class for whatever reason, we just schedule a makeup class and move on. We can come to the next class without missing a pivotal lesson. No one makes a fuss about missing practice time or hours in the gym. We all know that practice makes perfect, but when you don’t have to worry about perfection, you can relax a little more when life happens.
If your budding Simone Biles is begging you to sign up for classes, know that you have options. Think about what will be best for your child and don’t be afraid to take a test class (most places offer the first class for free) at a couple different gyms to make sure it’s what you are looking for. And maybe, if you don’t think you can commit to hours on end in the gym, gently let your little one know now that the Olympics is probably not in his or her future.
**This post is not sponsored by or in any way affiliated with The Little Gym or any of its subsidiaries as depicted in the image.
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Tags: Heather C.