So, hopefully this will be my last "3 year old" thread for a while :) But I have one more question for you all: DD is 3.5 now and starting taking gymnastics last fall (at 2.5) in a mom and kid class. In the spring, she graduated to a kid-only class and did very well. Over the summer, she went to a gymnastics camp 2 days a week for a few hours, and she LOVED it. She was really part of a little family there. The coaches are fantastic with small children.
This fall, she started up her class again, did okay for a few weeks, then I started really struggling to get her ready to go on gymnastics day. Now the past few classes she hasn't really been participating, and keeps laying around on the mats, telling her coaches she's too tired to do whatever they're asking. Part of me thinks this is just a part of the big 3.5 year old funk she's in where she refuses to accept authority and doesn't want to do anything that anyone asks her to do. But I thought kids were supposed to behave better with alternate caregivers?? Then part of me thinks she might just not be into gymnastics, and maybe I should pull her out. That makes me really sad, since she LOVES the coaches, I love having her be a part of something outside of the home, and her gross motor skills are somewhat poor, so it's really good for her in that respect. I'm also really struggling to get her enough social activity and hate to pull her out of one of the only peer situations she has.
So, wwyd? Pull her out? Leave her in for a while and hope she snaps out of it? Anyone had a kid go through an activity slump like this?
I might ask the coaches what they think. Is this behavior that is pretty typical of the age? They may suggest waiting it out. Or they may say maybe she isnt ready to keep on going just now and to try again in a few months?
I'd say if you're paying and she's not getting anything out of it, pull her and let her tell you when/if she's ready to go back. If she really misses it, she will ask about it. I did karate as a kid, and I enjoyed it at first, but then my parents (mostly my father) became way too pushy in insisting that I keep going (you love the teacher, you're so good...), and that I need to practice x number of hours so I could achieve junior black belt by this age and blah blah blah....I learned to hate it. I stopped being an "active participant" and just went through the motions. Now I was a bit older (10 maybe?) when I actually quit for good, but I started hating it long before that, and at 3.5, rather than going through the motions to please someone, they do the rag doll routine. We'll be trying DD out in gymnastics this winter more so to burn some energy, and maybe when she's older see if she'd like to try dance or something with more coordination (I can't stand the thought of sitting through a dance class until she's at least 4 or 5 and able to follow directions for moves lol). But if she stops caring about it, we'll talk about why and def pull her out if it jus isn't clicking. Is she finding things more difficult as she moves up and advances and is hesitant to take that leap? Maybe pulling her from being a member of the class, but going down to watch the other kids and seeing if that gives her a push to want to get back into it.
I agree with asking the coaches what they think. They should have suggestions and feedback to provide. I own a dance studio and we see this happen fairly regularly. Kids stop participating for many reasons. Does your DD not want to go at all, or does she just not participate once she's there? At 3.5 she may be able to articulate to you why she is not participating and what she wants to do. I almost always encourage students and parents to stick it out for all the positive reasons you listed. It's beneficial for her to be there even if she's not participating all the time. However, if even getting to the gym is a struggle then it's probably not worth it. She can always return to gymnastics later on, but forcing her could ruin her love of it forever.
If she still indicates interest in going but seems to be using non-participation as a power struggle you could talk to her about it and tell her that if she choose not to participate then you will leave the gym immediately. Then of course you need to follow through and do it. And definitely talk to the coaches first about this plan and make sure they are on board.