This might get a little long.
My daughters are 4y10m and 2y10m.
My 4 year old has some gross motor planning delays that she has greatly improved through occupational therapy, as well as overall poor body awareness. Right now, it just presents as being clumsy. She's pretty much fearless now (doesn't take initiative to do things herself) but if asked to do something, like climb a ladder, she'll put her all into it and try try try. Her social anxiety is much, much better, she'll say a few words to strangers now and although she's been diagnosed with selective mutism, is doing that far less often. She's very smart, and very artistic and creative.
My 2yo is her polar opposite. She's very active, very competitive, and very outgoing. She could climb the furniture before she could walk. She's a daredevil. Jumped off of grandma's couch a few months ago and split her face open on the coffee table. She didn't even flinch when we took her to the ER to get glued back together. She's very athletic. She could care less about art, but will sit and copy her sister's drawings in the interest of competition.
They are both currently in gymnastics 2 days/wk. We are at a gym that offers early childhood classes and advances to team gymnastics and tumbling. My 4yo has been in it since she was 18 months old, though we took a break last year because of her social anxiety. The girls are in two separate classes. My 2yo is in a Moms & Tots class. We sing songs and stretch, and do a little bit of tumbling and beam and bar practice- it's minimal, really, no pressure on kids to do anything. My 4yo is in a "beginner" class that's one step up from this class- essentially the same thing, but with no parent there.
Next session my 2yo will be 3- she'll be old enough to join her big sister in the "beginner" class. My 2yo's instructor wants her to do one session in that class, and if she listens well enough she'll move her up to the "intermediate" class. My nephew also goes to this gym and followed the same route- he bypassed his peers and is now 5.5yo and on the lower level boys gymnastics team. I'm told by the instructors that my 2yo DD seems to be following the same route.
There are a few issues at hand..
-I would normally say no, and let my 2yo stay at the level she's at, as well as in the "beginner" class, for a few more years. However, she's very bored in her class right now. She is physically capable of doing more- and gets very excited when our instructor shows us something new. She has told me multiple times that she wants to go with big sister's class. (They have class at the same time, just on different floors).
-I feel like I can't put her in the same class at the same time as my 4yo. I feel like they'll both be hindered by eachother's presence. My 4yo needs a physical class for her motor planning.. gymnastics is perfect for it. My 2yo is really easily distracted and I know that in the presence of big sister, neither one of them will be listening to their instructor. That and they fight like crazy.. they do not get along.
-If being in the same class together *does* work out and they both go as planned, I don't want my 4 year old to feel bad about her sister being able to do things that she can't. My 2 year old has that competitive edge, like I mentioned. And if she does pass her sister up into the next level (intermediate), how am I supposed to explain that to my 4 year old? Once my 4 year old turns 6 she'll age out of the class she's in- but if she's not physically at the standards for the intermediate class, I'm not sure she'll be able to be in it at all.
I feel terrible. I've discussed this with the coaches. I've been told that it will be a great lesson for my kids to learn about eachother's strengths and weaknesses, and to be okay with who they are. My 4yo is so bright, so smart, so creative, her art blows me away. She'd be better off in a pottery class or something- I just feel so so terrible. I don't know how to talk to her about it. I don't want her to feel sad, I don't want her to be hurt. I also don't want to hold my younger DD back because she is so ready and so eager to move on. And she needs this outlet for her physical energy. She's just a big ball of energy and it's quite taxing!
My husband wants to pull my 4yo out of gymnastics and put her in another activity. I don't want to do that- it took her long enough to become accustomed to this park and feel "ok" with being there. I may enroll her in an additional activity, maybe something art related, so she can have her own "thing".
I don't know- the logistics are something I need to figure out.. but how do I address the issue with my 4 year old? Other advice?