I’m reading a lot of articles right now about parents who thought plopping their kids on a gymnastics mat at the gym was a “safe” thing to do, and are now having questions. It’s a scary time in the world of gymnastics, but thanks to many brave young women, I believe the sport will improve. That doesn’t mean you can hop in the car and take off while your kids are in their tumbling class – parents must always be vigilant – but with proper safety measures, gymnastics is and always will be an excellent choice for youngsters.
Tumbling and gymnastics are full of naturally safety-minded equipment, like tumbling mats, crash pads, and harnesses. The safety you provide for them in terms of instruction must always include thorough vetting of the venue and instructors, and even then your presence is the best safety mechanism you can give your child. But your presence isn’t necessarily going to prevent a fall, so those tumbling mats and crash pads are there to protect the kids when you can’t.
Encouraging your child in his or her love for the sport can be as easy as providing them with some of those tumbling mats at home. When you unfold a tumbling mat, you’re giving your stamp of approval for them to continue to practice even when they’re not in class. In the safety of your own home, under your watchful eye, kids can practice the fundamentals of tumbling and gymnastics and have a blast at the same time. Their progress will accelerate and you and they will be pleased with the quality of play and practice time.
Tumbling mats are a safety net, both at home and at the gym, but there is no substitute for vigilance when it comes to letting your child engage in gymnastics classes or other sports. While we can’t be everywhere as parents, we can do our best to make sure the kids are safe – it’s the one job we have and we can’t afford to be cavalier about it.