Is Gymnastics Right for Your Child?
There are several factors to take into consideration before getting your child involved in any sport, but especially a high-level sport like gymnastics. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, readiness is defined relative to the demands of the sport. In other words, the more demanding a sport it, the greater amount of readiness your child needs. Your child's pediatrician can help you determine whether your child is ready to participate in an organized sport, and can also recommend a sport that matches your child's maturity.
In addition, consider the qualifications of your child's coach. Coaches need to have a thorough background in child development so that they can properly monitor the health and safety of young children participating in an organized sport. But, according to Pediatrics, most coaches are not trained to deal with the specific developmental and physical needs of young athletes. Ask questions about your child's potential coaches and research their qualifications.
Most of the research shows that the sport of gymnastics does not specifically hinder the development of young athletes. Any sport that requires a high level of physical activity and dedication could have the same effect. When getting your child involved in a sport, it is important to keep in mind her physical and mental needs. Young children have not yet developed the mental and physical capacity of teenagers and adults, and allowing their participation in extreme sports will not speed up this process. Sports and organized physical activity are great for young children, and help to instill healthy, lifelong habits. Enlist the help of professionals to ensure that your child's level of participation in sports is healthy and age-appropriate, and you can find a balance that allows your child to be a successful athlete while still being a kid.