As the parent of a budding gymnast, you may have a long road ahead. The possibilities for your young child interested in gymnastics are limitless, but your resources may not be. So how does one be a supportive parent to the little tumbler?
A child’s interest is always a good place to begin. If your child in tumbling class is expressing fascination with classes, watching other gymnasts, or maybe talking about the upcoming summer Olympics, chances are you have a serious gymnast in the making. Encourage this healthy interest in an active lifestyle. Take your child to some competitive meets to be spectators together. Talk about what you see and ask your child questions about the sport.
Often what you may find about your child is that his interest in sport of gymnastics will grow as he is encouraged in his interest. Helping him stay focused on such a healthy pursuit will be all the encouragement he needs to make a healthy lifestyle a lifelong goal, whether in gymnastics or another pursuit. Helping him visualize his dreams becoming realities can help him stay focused as his dreams grow and change. As a small child, his goal may be to accomplish a certain skill or routine, but as he matures, his goals may change to become more competitive. Providing him with a facility and coaching staff to meet his changing goals is one step in helping him realize his dreams.
It may become easy to focus entirely on gymnastics as a way of helping your child mature, but a well-rounded lifestyle will be better suited to helping him accomplish his gymnastics goals. Encourage him in other areas of his life as well. A curious child interested in learning lots of different things, from academics to life skills, will make a better, well-adjusted adult, and certainly a better gymnast than one who is focused exclusively on the sport. It’s difficult to know where that line is, but more often than not, a child who has a large sphere of inputs will be healthier than one with minimal sources of influence.
Your commitment to your child’s interest in gymnastics is key to his pursuit of the sport. If you encourage his dreams, provide resources for achieving them, and are present for him, win or lose, you will have done your part in providing the opportunities for his success.