The number one reason that a child quits a sport like gymnastics is that it wasn’t fun anymore. So what can you do to encourage your child to stick with something they enjoy? Keep it fun.
Here are five tips to keep gymnastics fun for your kids:
1. Focus on the Process
When the focus is on competition, winning, and earning awards, kids begin to value these outcomes over individual improvement. Rather than focusing on improving their skills, kids are too concerned with the results of a competition. However, when you remind your child how far they’ve come and emphasize the process, this outlook reinforces the progress they’ve made. Rather than worrying about winning, kids can shift their focus to something more productive.
2. Avoid Coaching
While it is possible to be a child’s coach and parent, when there is another adult who can coach your child, then consider that option. Otherwise, do not coach your child. Coaching your child rarely leads to a favorable outcome. Both you and your child increase your chances of having fun in this sport when you don’t coach your own gymnast.
3. Ask the Right Questions
As a parent, you can reinforce the importance of fun by asking the right questions. Instead of asking your child about their placing or ranking compared to other athletes, ask them, “Are you having fun?” Or, “What was fun about today’s practice?” Not only do you help your child see what’s fun in the sport, but you’re also sending a message that fun is a valuable element.
4. Set Realistic Expectations
Set realistic expectations for your child’s performance. At the same time, help your child manage their expectations. If your expectations are too high, then you can end up putting too much pressure on your child. Expecting that your child is going to make the Olympic team will likely lead to disappointment. If your child knows that you expect this from them, they probably won’t enjoy the sport as much and will worry about disappointing you.
5. Stay Positive
The more positive things you have to say to your child, the more they’re likely to enjoy the sport and continue it. If your child does make a mistake, let their coach provide the feedback. Focus on saying positive things, like “I love watching you work hard.”
At Kids First Gymnastics in Cedar Rapids, we put your kids first. We focus on positive coaching and character development, and we’re on a mission to create happy, healthy, and confident children. To learn more about how to get started, contact us today.