Should we keep going with this or make a change? (gymnastics--long) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 40 Old 04-18-2010, 02:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My dd is 4.5 (5 this summer) and has been doing gymnastics since she was 3. We orginally chose this activity for her because she has always been so high energy and naturally athletic. She has always enjoyed gymnastics and has excelled. At this point she is a level 2 (two levels past "kindergym" and 2 away from "team") She goes 2x a week for 2 hours. The gym is 30 minutes away from our house, but I have been pretty pleased with the program and the coaches, plus dd has loved it so I was fine with the drive.

But now we've run into some issues. DD has strabismus which means that she sees and moves through the world differently than most kids. I also suspect that if evaluated, she might be considered ADHD. She jumps around a lot and has trouble not invading the other girls' personal space. She gets too close to them, has trouble keeping her place in line, sometimes cuts, etc. When she's working on something, she's super focused, but in the downtime, when they stand in line, it gets more difficult for her. She's getting better, but her behavior still stands out from that of the other kids.

Two months ago when she moved up from level 1 to level 2 things changed. I think the girls are a bit older (an average of 6) and they are less tolerant of my dd's quirks and transgressions. After every class she tells me of an incident where a girl tells her "I/we don't like you," "You're not my friend," "go away." A couple of weeks ago, I noticed one of the coaches giving dd a talking to in front of the other girls (it lasted at least a minute), and holding up the line for vault. After practice when I asked her what happened, she said that dd was saying to the other girls that they are not her friends and that she hit a couple of them. I know a few minutes before dd got in trouble, she had gotten too close to one girl who turned around, really got in dd's face and said something to her that I could not make out. Before moving up to this class, the whole "You're not my friend" business was not in her social vocabulary, so I know she is reacting to things being said to her in class (of course I understand that doesn't make it alright for her to hit other kids). I've talked to the head coach, and I know they talk to the girls about being kind to each other and being a team. The head coach seems to think that dd is fine in class, that the girls are all learning social skills, and that this is just a part of growing and learning.

But now dd asks to be taken out of gymnastics At first I thought it was because she is going through this ballerina-princess phase (she wanted to do dance instead). But now she says she wants to keep doing gymnastics, just at another gym.

I asked her yesterday whether she'd like to do daycamp a few weeks this summer. The school she will be attending offers 3 weeks of camp. She thought I meant, like, outdoors camping. I explained that no--this would be a time to do arts and crafts, play, and make new friends. She then said that she can't make friends because whenever she tries to talk to kids, they don't like her and don't want to be her friend. This just breaks my heart. I don't want her to enter kindergarten already feeling that she's a social failure. She already does not have many friends (just 2 that she has known since they were toddlers, and she doesn't see either of them very often). My husband's first reaction to the whole situation is that we should make her stick it out. That it's going to be the same anywhere she goes and we don't want her to think that when things get tough she can just quit. I see that side, but at the same time, she's so young, and my daughter is not the type to complain. It saddens me to know this goes on every week, twice a week, and that it's not getting any better. I feel like the teacher going off on her with all the girls watching didn't help matters...I feel like it just confirms for them that she is an outsider and not worth liking.

So, I'm coming here for support and advice. I've talked to dd about personal space and tried to give her strategies for staying focused in class. I said she should stay in gymnastics for the rest of April, then we could talk about a change. What do you all think? I've considered switching gyms, switching sports, doing no sports at all. I am really at a loss. My dd was always the kid who felt comfortable approaching anybody and is such a kind-hearted, inclusive child. I don't want to leave her in a situation that damages her self-esteem, but I do want to make sure I'm not giving her the wrong message. What would you do?
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#2 of 40 Old 04-18-2010, 02:49 PM
 
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My heart is breaking a little for your daughter. Have you discussed these issues with your pediatrician? If you think that ADHD is affecting her social interactions, some kind of treatment is indicated. It's possible that some behavioral therapy/coaching would really help her.

I would be worried about a child with poor depth perception getting into higher and higher levels of gymnastics. Are her coaches aware of the issue? And are they at all qualified to deal with it constructively?

I feel like the thing to do at this point is to help your daughter find the tools to succeed socially. And I would take her out of situations in which she's not getting along. She's very young.
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#3 of 40 Old 04-18-2010, 03:56 PM
 
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I can't comment about ADHD but I can say that I wouldn't feel comfortable with my kids spending so much time in activity with older children. The other kids will gravitate to the kids their own age, they will be more skilled and your DD will notice and think that it's her fault, when if fact, it's just a simply a matter of age. I also think that it's a lot of time to devote to just one activity when your DD is so young. I prefer my kids to try a bunch of different things. We do one session of gymnastics a year. We also do swimming, skating, dance, piano and soccer, just not all at the same time of year. That give variety and practices different skills sets.
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#4 of 40 Old 04-18-2010, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Meepycat--thank you for your compassionate response. Actually, dd's developmental optometrist thinks it's great that she does gymnastics. It helps with balance, body awareness, spacial awareness, etc. I don't think her depth perception is a problem--she is and has always been very athletic and daring, and I (and her drs.) believe she has learned to compensate. Oh, and I have an appt with the ped on Thursday.

cjam-- there are some girls closer to dd's age in the class, although most are 5 or 6. And skill level is not really an issue. My daughter is an awesome little gymnast, and we kept her in gymnastics because she knows she's good at it and we thought it would be good for her self-esteem --ironic, I know.

My inclination is to take her out of the class...but I know that I am a sensitive person (why do people so often see this as a negative?), so I'm not sure if I'm being overly sensitive about it. My husband might think so, but he's always been one to treat dd as though she is older than she really is. I also don't think he knows much about the social needs and challenges of little girls.
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#5 of 40 Old 04-18-2010, 04:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by naismama View Post
DD has strabismus which means that she sees and moves through the world differently than most kids. I also suspect that if evaluated, she might be considered ADHD. She jumps around a lot and has trouble not invading the other girls' personal space. She gets too close to them, has trouble keeping her place in line, sometimes cuts, etc.
What are you doing about all this? This is the root problem and will repeat itself in different situations.

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After every class she tells me of an incident where a girl tells her "I/we don't like you," "You're not my friend," "go away."
Have you talked to the coach about this? The other girls' behavoir isn't OK.

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After practice when I asked her what happened, she said that dd was saying to the other girls that they are not her friends and that she hit a couple of them..... But now dd asks to be taken out of gymnastics
I think that your DD sounds very frustrated and in over her head, and doesn't have a better way of coping than hitting.

I also think that hitting is a HUGE deal. You seem to be blaming it on the other kids or the coach. You need to be honest with yourself and frank with your child that it's not OK to hit. Not ever.

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My husband's first reaction to the whole situation is that we should make her stick it out. That it's going to be the same anywhere she goes and we don't want her to think that when things get tough she can just quit.
I disagree. That would mean that since she started gymnastics at 3, she has to keep doing it until she is dead. Seriously, she's going to quit at some point. Figuring out how to do that in a positive way seems to be the key to me.

I would have her finish out the month/session (whatever it is) and then let her try something different with kids her age. I would talk to the coach about the fact that you will be stopping, why you are stopping, and trying to make the last few sessions positive.

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I feel like the teacher going off on her with all the girls watching didn't help matters...I feel like it just confirms for them that she is an outsider and not worth liking.
I think that her hitting didn't help matters.

What do you think the teacher should do when a child hits another child?

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switching sports, doing no sports at all.
I'm a big fan of swimming. I think it's the best sport for kids. It's a great time of year to start swimming!

I think that part of the problem is that she is with kids who are older than her and have higher expectations for behavoir, and that would repeat at another gym. Changing gears and getting her with other 4 year old seems better to me.

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My dd was always the kid who felt comfortable approaching anybody and is such a kind-hearted, inclusive child.
she's not coming across that way. Getting in other people space, cutting in line, etc is seen as really icky behavoir by other kids. I think there is a gulf between how you see your DD and what her social skill tell other people.

I think you need to work on social skills to her and teach her to take responsbility for her actions. When she does something like cut in line, it really annoys other kids. It makes them not want to be her friend.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#6 of 40 Old 04-18-2010, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What are you doing about all this? This is the root problem and will repeat itself in different situations.



Have you talked to the coach about this? The other girls' behavoir isn't OK.



I think that your DD sounds very frustrated and in over her head, and doesn't have a better way of coping than hitting.

I also think that hitting is a HUGE deal. You seem to be blaming it on the other kids or the coach. You need to be honest with yourself and frank with your child that it's not OK to hit. Not ever.



I disagree. That would mean that since she started gymnastics at 3, she has to keep doing it until she is dead. Seriously, she's going to quit at some point. Figuring out how to do that in a positive way seems to be the key to me.

I would have her finish out the month/session (whatever it is) and then let her try something different with kids her age. I would talk to the coach about the fact that you will be stopping, why you are stopping, and trying to make the last few sessions positive.



I think that her hitting didn't help matters.

What do you think the teacher should do when a child hits another child?



I'm a big fan of swimming. I think it's the best sport for kids. It's a great time of year to start swimming!

I think that part of the problem is that she is with kids who are older than her and have higher expectations for behavoir, and that would repeat at another gym. Changing gears and getting her with other 4 year old seems better to me.



she's not coming across that way. Getting in other people space, cutting in line, etc is seen as really icky behavoir by other kids. I think there is a gulf between how you see your DD and what her social skill tell other people.

I think you need to work on social skills to her and teach her to take responsbility for her actions. When she does something like cut in line, it really annoys other kids. It makes them not want to be her friend.
Did you even read my original post? Yes I know that her behavior annoys the other kids. Yes I know that it is not ok to hit (see my original post). Yes, I have talked to the coaches (original post). Yes, I work with my dd to give her strategies to gain calm, focus, and better social skills (once again, original post). Just because I recognize that a certain situation is difficult for my dd doesn't mean I am "blaming it on the other kids or the coach." I am talking about finding a better situation for my child, not being angry and belligerent with the coach and the other kids. I'm not here to vent about or try to change others' behavior. But I also know that my daughter is not an aggressive child and has never hit another child--not even her brother who pummels her all the time. And what do I think the coach should have done if my child hit another child? Take her away from the situation and dress her down in private, call me, reprimand her sharply and move on......No, I do not think holding up practice and fussing at her with the other girls circled around watching was the right thing to do.
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#7 of 40 Old 04-18-2010, 05:22 PM
 
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Jumping around and having a hard time waiting in line are very normal things for kids this age even if your child does have something else going on that contributes. My dd does swimming and she has ups and downs with liking that as well. We keep pushing through and I find that she enjoys it overall so I keep having her go. It sounds like she is in a down phase and getting used to a new group. I think that it would be nice if the coach pulled her aside to talk to her next time, but with hitting sometimes that doesn't happen because teachers often go straight in and find out what is going on from both parties then address it in the moment or just address it in the moment if they saw that only one person did the hitting. I think you should talk to her about how to be a good friend and role play what to do when you are angry at someone, but also keep going to the lessons for now. No matter where you go you will find that kids this age tend to say some really mean things to each other. If this place is working on kindness and gymnastics then I think you should stick with them.
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#8 of 40 Old 04-18-2010, 05:25 PM
 
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I think your dd is in over her head. Her physical ability seems to be mismatched with her social ability. There is a vast difference in maturity level between 4.5 and 6 yo's. From what you stated it sounds like your dd is still pretty immature (rightfully so, she is still very young) and she may have some medical issues you need to have investigated. At 6, most girls are much more socially aware than they were at 4. They notice when other children act out (like cutting in line) and try to distance themselves. Quite frankly, the invasion of personal space would be a huge issue with my oldest dd and she would probably react the same way the older girls did.

It sounds like this class is just not right for your child. If your dd still likes gymnastics, could you ask for her to be put back in the lower class, or find her another class with other girls her age?

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#9 of 40 Old 04-18-2010, 06:12 PM
 
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If you are committed to gymnastics as something you value for your dd, you may want to think about what your goals are. She sounds stressed and understandably out of her element with the older kids. 4 1/2 is very young, and frankly the earlier program of 2x/week for 2 hours seems like a huge time commitment to begin with. do you want her to have fun, get some exercise, socialize? Then move her back down w/her peers if you can. There's no reason for her to be out of her age group at 4 1/2.

Or, you might find another sport/activity to take the place of gymnastics. I have frankly found gymnastics to be very competitve and focused on appearance in a way that we were never comfortable with for our kids. maybe she would enjoy something new?
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#10 of 40 Old 04-18-2010, 07:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, everyone for taking the time to respond. You know, I had felt that 2hrs 2x a week was a lot too, but I told dd to let me know if it ever felt like too much gymnastics or if she needed a break. She has always loved it and wanted to continue. But I agree, I think she is under some stress now in the class. At first I wasn't too concerned about the mean things, because I know that's the age. I guess what's distressing is that it is ongoing. I have started talking some to another mother whose child is in that class. Her daughter just turned 6 and she volunteered to me that she is surprised at some of the things her dd tells her about how nasty the girls are in class. So, I don't know how "normal" some of this particular mean behavior is or not.

We've definitely been working with dd on respecting people's space and how to deal with it when girls say something mean to her. Basically, at this point she just stands there doing and saying nothing as the other girls say the mean things (just ignore it). I feel as though I am failing her by having her just stand there and absorb the meannesses. But I am just afraid that if she speaks up fo herself, things will escalate and she will end up getting in trouble (this is what happened before).

Her skill level is such that I don't think moving her back a level is an option. I think she would get bored and restless. I keep reading suggestions to deal with "medical issues." I am doing the best I can on that front (diet, doctors, etc). What is frustrating is I think dd is doing the best she can as well. She's not trying to be annoying and exhibit "icky" behavior to bother the other girls. I really think a lot of it is lack of self control, which we work on constantly. Her behavior is really not horrible at this point (It may come across that way in my posts). The class still functions, and the coaches say that she is fine. It's just when they get in line that things start going wrong for dd.
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#11 of 40 Old 04-18-2010, 08:01 PM
 
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I'd find her a new gym.

She loves the sport and is good at it, so there is no need to make her stop gymnastics, but the nasty behavior that is tolerated at this gym is ruining it for her.

Try to find a gym that has a class with advanced preschoolers. This gym's solution to your DD's advanced abilities was to place her in a class that is inappropriate for her social development, and it is causing the predictable problems.

Find a gym that offers a small class for the more advanced/serious preschoolers. A serious gym where they have other students at your DD's level who are not considerably chronologically older than your DD is.

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#12 of 40 Old 04-18-2010, 08:20 PM
 
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I'd find her a new gym or a new sport. There is no need for her to 'stick it out'. She's FOUR, not 14.

The coaches seem to have very few effective strategies for dealing with the social issues. "Be kind to each other" isn't a very effective way to make young queen bees quit saying mean things. Yes, your dd hit other kids, but it sounds like there's a classic bullying cycle going on here - they say mean things, they get in your dd's face, then she reacts and gets caught. Because she's younger, and probably pretty reactive (kids with ADHD or ADHD-like tendencies often are highly reactive), she makes a great 'target'. Also, there are huge developmental changes in social cognition between 4 and 6. It's hard for a 4 year old to navigate the social world of a 6 year old.

It also sounds like the class is too structured for your dd - both given her age and her level of development. The other kids are not a good fit either. Dd is in a piano class with kids who are mostly 6, and there's one little boy there who is 4 1/2. Musically, he's fine, but socially he struggles because he's just too young. His impulse control is less, his social skills are less. Luckily, the parents are with the kids during the class, so it's not a problem. But I could see that this darling, bright boy could have real trouble if he were with a different group of kids or a different situation.

I'd second swimming as a good thing to try for a new sport - it's a good skill to have and really good for kids with lots of extra energy because the resistance of the water is really good for them.

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#13 of 40 Old 04-18-2010, 10:43 PM
 
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But I also know that my daughter is not an aggressive child and has never hit another child
then I misread your post. I thought you said that she hit other girl(s) during her last gymnastics class.

It sounds to me like the way you see your DD and the way her behavoir comes across to other children is very different. You see the sweetness in your DD, but the other children only see her behavoir. With her agemates, the expectations of the other children and the adults will be more in line with what she can handle.

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Take her away from the situation and dress her down in private, call me, reprimand her sharply and move on
many times coaches and teachers can't do that because they can't leave the other children unattended.

I think that you should transition her to an activity that her age is in line with her ability. I don't think she is ready to be with kids who are all a lot older than her.

I also think that you need to make playdates a higher priority.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#14 of 40 Old 04-18-2010, 11:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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then I misread your post. I thought you said that she hit other girl(s) during her last gymnastics class.

It sounds to me like the way you see your DD and the way her behavoir comes across to other children is very different. You see the sweetness in your DD, but the other children only see her behavoir. With her agemates, the expectations of the other children and the adults will be more in line with what she can handle.



many times coaches and teachers can't do that because they can't leave the other children unattended.

I think that you should transition her to an activity that her age is in line with her ability. I don't think she is ready to be with kids who are all a lot older than her.

I also think that you need to make playdates a higher priority.
Before this incident she had never hit another child. She has not since. And there were other coaches on the floor with the girls. I maintain that this could and should have been handled differently. But I am not here to complain about the way the gym is handling things. My concern is finding the best situation for my daughter.

eepster and LynnS6--I will look into other gyms. Thanks. It's just tough because she is so athletic, and so often times her abilities place her above her agemates. But I think you are right about this class not being a fit. The last class she was in was "advanced," but younger, and she was fine. She also does better in a mix of girls and boys, I think. DD does swim half an hour on Saturdays, and the kids in that class tend to be 3, 4, 5.
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#15 of 40 Old 04-19-2010, 09:00 AM
 
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I also agree about finding another gym. Each class is going to have a different feel based on the kids in it and on how the instructor runs it. If this one isn't a good fit just look someplace else.

Another suggestion (that you may or may not like) is a class on manners. My park district has little "social" classes that deal with manners. It may make her more aware of how to behave with others in a social setting. Sometimes it doesn't come naturally, ya know? Just another idea. Plus, if it is a class where they are all learning how to act then it isn't singling her out for behavior.
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#16 of 40 Old 04-19-2010, 10:30 AM
 
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Is it possible just to take a break for a bit? I haven't been involved with gymnastics, so I'm not sure how they work (seasons, semesters, etc.) From that, my suggestion would be to finish up whatever you've agreed to do and then take a few months' break. We will be taking the summer off from dance, and I'm really glad. DC enjoy it, but we all could use some downtime from the activity. Even sitting out a year could help her to grow socially. I was reading recently about the increase in sports injuries in small children who participate in one activity year-round, so it's something I've been thinking about with my own kids.

Changing gyms is a possibility if you think this class in particular is the problem. Co-ed is great (I say as someone who's always gotten along better with boys/men), but how many boys will be at another gym? My son is one of only 2 boys in our entire ballet school. I know gymnastics is a bit different, but I'd imagine the higher she goes, the fewer boys there will be. Also keep in mind, though, that a gym for more advanced preschoolers probably also will come with higher behavioral expectations for them. You may not be doing any better by going to other 4YOs who are all very advanced. Ime with music, it can get pretty demanding of children with stellar talent, so she may run into this problem anywhere.

If you decide to stay in this class, is it possible you can be closer to her during class? That may make her more of an outcast, but it could be helpful in preparing her long-term to have better social skills.

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#17 of 40 Old 04-19-2010, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I also agree about finding another gym. Each class is going to have a different feel based on the kids in it and on how the instructor runs it. If this one isn't a good fit just look someplace else.

Another suggestion (that you may or may not like) is a class on manners. My park district has little "social" classes that deal with manners. It may make her more aware of how to behave with others in a social setting. Sometimes it doesn't come naturally, ya know? Just another idea. Plus, if it is a class where they are all learning how to act then it isn't singling her out for behavior.
I've actually thought about this, so thanks for reminding me . We have a class offered this summer through our park district. If she's old enough, I'll consider it.

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Is it possible just to take a break for a bit? I haven't been involved with gymnastics, so I'm not sure how they work (seasons, semesters, etc.) From that, my suggestion would be to finish up whatever you've agreed to do and then take a few months' break. We will be taking the summer off from dance, and I'm really glad. DC enjoy it, but we all could use some downtime from the activity. Even sitting out a year could help her to grow socially. I was reading recently about the increase in sports injuries in small children who participate in one activity year-round, so it's something I've been thinking about with my own kids.

Changing gyms is a possibility if you think this class in particular is the problem. Co-ed is great (I say as someone who's always gotten along better with boys/men), but how many boys will be at another gym? My son is one of only 2 boys in our entire ballet school. I know gymnastics is a bit different, but I'd imagine the higher she goes, the fewer boys there will be. Also keep in mind, though, that a gym for more advanced preschoolers probably also will come with higher behavioral expectations for them. You may not be doing any better by going to other 4YOs who are all very advanced. Ime with music, it can get pretty demanding of children with stellar talent, so she may run into this problem anywhere.

If you decide to stay in this class, is it possible you can be closer to her during class? That may make her more of an outcast, but it could be helpful in preparing her long-term to have better social skills.
When I mentioned the co-ed thing, I wasn't thinking gymnastics. But I do think we will just try to get through the rest of this month then take a break. If we don't start up again at this gym, we will try a smaller gym. The one we go to now is very big and very busy with cheer classes and a big and popular skating program (it is also almost 30 minutes away, and I think the drive is tiring for dd). There is so much going on during dd's class, and it is not easy to stay close and keep an eye on what's happening when they are on the floor. I agree that I would need to stay closer to her in these types of situations until she settles into some better social skills. She does so well with just one or two other kids. It's when she's around a slew of kids that we run into trouble.
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She does so well with just one or two other kids. It's when she's around a slew of kids that we run into trouble.
Does she do better in shorter things and/or things with less waiting?

A two hour gymnastics class would involve far more waiting-for-your-turn than most activities.

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I have a 7y old that is involved in gymnastics, it sounds like they are similar in skill level. Mine is getting ready to move up to the last level before team. We also have been involved in gymnastics since she was 3. I can say that the girls in DD1's level are not tolerant of children that are like your DD and I say this with a child that has quirks of her own. It isn't the children themselves but the age, there is a huge difference in the maturity level of a 4 year old and a 6/7/8 year old. DD1 had/has her own issues to learn how to handle to I understand that but it does not sound like this gym is a good fit. I would agree with finding another one. We go to a small gym and the kids like your DD have their own program where they can learn higher skills with other younger children instead of being put in with the older kids.

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Co-ed is great (I say as someone who's always gotten along better with boys/men), but how many boys will be at another gym?
Even if the gym has plenty of boys (the serious one we considered for DS did, but we went with a relaxed class at the community center) once you are past the basic level they separate the boys and girls classes. Boys and girls do different skills in gymnastic competitions.

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#21 of 40 Old 04-19-2010, 02:42 PM
 
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We have struggled with this a bit too, for many of the same reasons. My now 7 YO DD started gymnastics at 3 and is very good. Maybe not quite as good as your DD, but far outstripping her age group and moved up in class level so that now she is mostly with older girls (9-13) as well. There was definitely a time when she was the youngest/smallest in her class and it was harder. She is also ADHD (professionally diagnosed, not just my suspicion). So I've seen a lot of exactly the sort of thing that you are describing.

We moved her out of the YMCA program when both her coaches and we realized she was ready to move up but they couldn't let her go beyond her age bracket with their system. The gym we chose let her move up by ability, without restriction by age. However, they have always been careful to put her in classes where there were more younger girls than older ones. There is a world of "socialization" difference between school aged and non-school-aged children! We have limited her class time to 1 hr/lesson so that she didn't have quite so much standing around/waiting stuff. I cannot imagine DD actually being able to hold it together for a full 2 hour class, especially on a school day. We tend to concentrate on Saturday classes so that she isn't so tired for class, though we have recently added a second hour on Wednesday afternoons. We made sure she was never in a class with more than 4 other girls so that the coach could adequately supervise both the girls working on skills and those waiting.

Then we took the biggest step and the one that has helped the most. Because the ADHD was interfering with both school and gymnastics progress, we sought professional diagnosis and treatment. While somewhat unpopular here at MDC, the right ADHD medication has made the world of difference in her ability to manage both school and the gym. Virtually all of her social interaction issues and attention issues disappeared at that point. Next week she is joining the demo team (our gym does not competitive gymnastics until level 5 and she's a 3).

All of which is a long way to recommend finding a different program but not leaving the sport. It sounds like she enjoys it, other than this current difficulty. I would suggest maybe short, smaller classes and a gym that might have more advanced but younger girls that she can be with.

It also sounds like the right daycamp or preschool program this summer might be really good, especially if she isn't doing that now. There is something about learning social skills that takes practice, especially for children who have different perceptions of the world. Of course, you may be already doing that, but I can't tell. If you do add something else, you might want to look for a small enough group size that the teacher/councelor can coach social skills (something that a gymnastics coach can't do) within the group.
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I haven't read the whole thread, so please forgive me if I'm repeating someone else's suggestions.

It sounds like social issues really are the problem here. What if your dd did one group class with her age group each week, and one private lesson with just a coach to keep working on improving her skills? If it's not too much more expensive, that might let your dd be where she needs to be both in terms of her social skills and her abilities.

If that's too expensive, and your dd wants to continue gymnastics, I wouldn't hesitate to put her back in the younger age group. Coaches at the gym where my dd goes are very good at differentiating for kids within a group - they work on perfecting the skills the other kids are learning, and can add skills in a lot of situations.
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#23 of 40 Old 04-19-2010, 05:00 PM
 
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Then we took the biggest step and the one that has helped the most. Because the ADHD was interfering with both school and gymnastics progress, we sought professional diagnosis and treatment. While somewhat unpopular here at MDC, the right ADHD medication has made the world of difference in her ability to manage both school and the gym.
Good for you!

My older DD has high functioning a-typical autism. I deeply believe that we owe it to our special needs kids to take their needs very seriously by getting them what they need to be successful.

My DD just started a social skills class to work on those skills that most kids just figure out but that she needs to be taught in a ordered way.

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#24 of 40 Old 04-19-2010, 06:31 PM
 
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My son will be 5 at the end of this month and has also done gymnastics for a long time. He's very good, and he's in the show team this year (3x a week for 90 minutes). He was two year younger than the youngest person on the team, mostly composed of 6-7yo, when he started last sept. Our gym also had a younger show team composed of 3-4yo which isn't as fierce.

The problem to me doesn't seem to be the gymastics, it seems to be that your daughter is stressed out with all the demands on her, and she's still only 4.5. The other girls on the team are being appropriate for acting like they are 6, and most likely are frustrated with her (very age appropriate) inability to hold still, wait for her turn, stay in her space, etc. I would either find another gym, even if it means moving down a level, that's appropriate to her maturity and social ability at this time. She's only 4.5, you have ages and ages to go if she really wants to go far with her gymnastics.

Another option is finding another high-energy sport for her to participate in, if she is craving the physicality of gymnastics. Maybe dance, or tai kwon do. I also think a class in manners or appropriate behaviors would be good for her to take as well.

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#25 of 40 Old 04-19-2010, 08:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks all for your insights and suggestions. I made some changes in dd's diet a couple of weeks ago, and already, I see a difference in her. And her behavior isn't horrible or disruptive to the class in general. On the contrary, she often gets points (they have a point reward system) for working hard, listening to the teacher and following directions--several times when no other girl in the class does. It really is a social skills thing--not understanding boundaries and wanting too badly to be liked, and not knowing how to deal with rejection and mean behavior from other kids (it's disappointing to me, though, that so many people--not necessarily here-- think telling another kid "I hate you," "go away" is a normal part of growing up and learning social skills).

So, there are 4 more classes this month. I'm just going to try to help dd get through these classes. Then we'll take a break and take some time looking for another gym. Maybe a lot of time to give dd a chance to mature a bit. She's a funny one--so articulate and charming with adults, reading on at least a second grade level, amazing with smaller kids and pets, but has so much difficulty reading social cues and knowing how to be part of a group. I'm terrified for kindergarten.

You know, I'm just really exhausted. I feel as though over the years we have put and still are putting so much time, energy, money, stress into getting things better for my girl. From surgeries to therapies to special diets....I'm just tired, and I wish there were an easy button I am going to put my dd in some camp this summer, most likely at the school she will attend in the fall. We will also have her formally evaluated in about a month if we can not get an earlier appointment.
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#26 of 40 Old 04-30-2010, 02:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The problem to me doesn't seem to be the gymastics, it seems to be that your daughter is stressed out with all the demands on her, and she's still only 4.5. The other girls on the team are being appropriate for acting like they are 6, and most likely are frustrated with her (very age appropriate) inability to hold still, wait for her turn, stay in her space, etc. I would either find another gym, even if it means moving down a level, that's appropriate to her maturity and social ability at this time. She's only 4.5, you have ages and ages to go if she really wants to go far with her gymnastics.

Another option is finding another high-energy sport for her to participate in, if she is craving the physicality of gymnastics. Maybe dance, or tai kwon do. I also think a class in manners or appropriate behaviors would be good for her to take as well.
So yesterday was dd's last gymnastics class. I feel already that it was the right decision. I think a 2 hour class is too long for her. This past Monday we tried a comparable class at a closer gym. At about 1.5 hours into it, the coach told me she was complaining of being tired and lying down on the mats. I think her patience and her performance deteriorates the longer she's in there. When I talked to her coach about taking her out, the coach said that she didn't understand why, and that she thought dd had improved so much.....Then yesterday another coach tells me after class how much dd acted up. DD had a fit as the coach tried to tell me. She screamed at the coach to stop telling me--She cannot stand being told that she is wrong or having her wrongdoings exposed. She even hit and kicked at the coach. I was so embarassed and angry. Usually dd is super well-behaved with teachers and instructors. I think the class has been stressful for her. I don't know if it is that stress that is making her act up, the length of the class, immaturity, problems with the other girls, imitating the other girls, her age, or a combination of things. DD's always been "spirited," but I know she's been more difficult overall--even at home since moving from the 1 hour to the 2 hour class.

So next week we are going to start at the other gym--a one hour a week, recreational, co-ed trampoline class. Also, this gym is 5 minutes from our house, whereas the other is almost 30 so I don't have to worry about her falling asleep in the car before we even get to the gym,and being tired to start out. I'm hoping this is a better fit for dd so that she can still be in a gym and have less pressure so we can work on some of her behavioral stuff.

ETA: Out of curiosity...several of you who have posted on this thread have suggested swimming as a sport for dd. If any of you out there are still reading, may I ask why? Dh and I were discussing how well-behaved and calm dd has always been in swim class (she's a very good swimmer and has been taking 30 minute, once a week lessons for about a year now). There are other kids, waiting, taking turns, following directions, etc., but she is a different kid in that class than in gymnastics. Hmmm...
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#27 of 40 Old 04-30-2010, 08:12 PM
 
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No idea about the personality stuff and swimming, but swimming is a great complement to gymnastics.

Of all the girls that start a developmental / pre-team track (and are level 2 at ages 4-6), probably less than 1% will still be doing gymnastics at age 14.

But while gymnastics is "high demand" young, the kids that swim clubs are bringing along to be the next Michael Phelps will have low demands placed on them young. They will be expected to swim 2-3 times a week for maybe an hour until as late as puberty. They are expected to get their feel for the water young and work on nice stroke technique. There's no competition pressure. Meanwhile childhood gymnastics has lots of competition pressure, and 8-10 hours a week at practice. They get to age 10 or so, and time to admit that for whatever reason they are not going to move toward 24 hours a week of gymnastics in level 8. They switch from USAG to prep-op or JOGA or school cheerleading, have fun in the gym 6 hours a week while they ramp up their swimming, and then maybe from that to competing gymnastics for their high schools only.

Swimming is a lifelong sport. Gymnastics may be a lifelong love, but not something you can do 3 hours a week for fitness at age 40. Ouch.

As to your situation, OP, if the tramp class goes well, maybe get a bar at home so she doesn't lose her pullover, and take a year off of artistic. Or do one tramp a week and one artistic gymnastics private a week so she can re-join her group later and either get her a bar and a folding mat at home for practice or take her once a week to an open gym. She should be able to re-join her group later, or catch up reasonably. I think it can be discouraging to lose the upper body though. That bar strength can take a while for the kids to get back unless they are naturally super strong for weight.

I also think sometimes it's just time to move on to another level 2 group ... those girls should recognize that she is 4.5 and not be harsh with her. I have a six year old in level 2 and if she was mean to your daughter for what you describe, I would do what I needed to do to make it stop. It's not acceptable. If the culture is "let the kids work it out themselves," well I'll say that is more likely to work with boys than girls. I don't like it when a 7 year old boy shoves my 5 year old off the tumble track. I would prefer the 7 year old recognize that my son is 5. On the other hand, he'll eventually learn, and the 7 year old will not continue to torment him. I can't say the same about typical girl relations.
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#28 of 40 Old 05-01-2010, 04:01 AM
 
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ETA: Out of curiosity...several of you who have posted on this thread have suggested swimming as a sport for dd. If any of you out there are still reading, may I ask why? Dh and I were discussing how well-behaved and calm dd has always been in swim class (she's a very good swimmer and has been taking 30 minute, once a week lessons for about a year now). There are other kids, waiting, taking turns, following directions, etc., but she is a different kid in that class than in gymnastics. Hmmm...
if she's a good swimmer, get her on a team. There is FAR more swimming and far less waiting around. In gymnastics, kids spend most of their time standing around and waiting. During a swim team practice, kids spend most of their time swimming.

Gymnastics as a team sport has a high rate of injury and a high rate of eating disorders. Swimming, on the other hand, is one of the best things you can do for your body. (Both my kids did recreational gymnastics when they were young, but it isn't something that I would have supported as a team sport).

It is also my experiences that swim coaches have a higher rate of having an attitude of helping each child their their potential than most sports. It really is about "personal best" and not about beating other people.

AND swimming (real swimming) requires controlled breathing. Controlling our breathing is a pivotal step to control our emotions. In this respect, it's very like yoga.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#29 of 40 Old 05-01-2010, 11:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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No idea about the personality stuff and swimming, but swimming is a great complement to gymnastics.

Of all the girls that start a developmental / pre-team track (and are level 2 at ages 4-6), probably less than 1% will still be doing gymnastics at age 14.

But while gymnastics is "high demand" young, the kids that swim clubs are bringing along to be the next Michael Phelps will have low demands placed on them young. They will be expected to swim 2-3 times a week for maybe an hour until as late as puberty. They are expected to get their feel for the water young and work on nice stroke technique. There's no competition pressure. Meanwhile childhood gymnastics has lots of competition pressure, and 8-10 hours a week at practice. They get to age 10 or so, and time to admit that for whatever reason they are not going to move toward 24 hours a week of gymnastics in level 8. They switch from USAG to prep-op or JOGA or school cheerleading, have fun in the gym 6 hours a week while they ramp up their swimming, and then maybe from that to competing gymnastics for their high schools only.

Swimming is a lifelong sport. Gymnastics may be a lifelong love, but not something you can do 3 hours a week for fitness at age 40. Ouch.

As to your situation, OP, if the tramp class goes well, maybe get a bar at home so she doesn't lose her pullover, and take a year off of artistic. Or do one tramp a week and one artistic gymnastics private a week so she can re-join her group later and either get her a bar and a folding mat at home for practice or take her once a week to an open gym. She should be able to re-join her group later, or catch up reasonably. I think it can be discouraging to lose the upper body though. That bar strength can take a while for the kids to get back unless they are naturally super strong for weight.

I also think sometimes it's just time to move on to another level 2 group ... those girls should recognize that she is 4.5 and not be harsh with her. I have a six year old in level 2 and if she was mean to your daughter for what you describe, I would do what I needed to do to make it stop. It's not acceptable. If the culture is "let the kids work it out themselves," well I'll say that is more likely to work with boys than girls. I don't like it when a 7 year old boy shoves my 5 year old off the tumble track. I would prefer the 7 year old recognize that my son is 5. On the other hand, he'll eventually learn, and the 7 year old will not continue to torment him. I can't say the same about typical girl relations.
Thanks, for this response. You know, I had no intention of making gymnastics "her sport." It was something we were doig for fun and to get her energy out, and before I knew it we were on this developmental track. Several times over the past 2 months in the level 2 class dd has asked for Coach ---, the kindergym coach. I think gymnastics had stopped being fun for her. I'm so glad we quit!

The gym where we will do the tramp class offers a FREE noon-hour open gym for preschoolers, so she'll have the opportunity to work on other things, although I suspect she'll just want to jump on the tramp.

As for the social stuff, it was really disappointing how mean these girls are, but it won't be the last time, and it will have to serve as a strating point to teach my dd assertiveness, self-control, and kindness toward those who are different or younger than she.

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if she's a good swimmer, get her on a team. There is FAR more swimming and far less waiting around. In gymnastics, kids spend most of their time standing around and waiting. During a swim team practice, kids spend most of their time swimming.

Gymnastics as a team sport has a high rate of injury and a high rate of eating disorders. Swimming, on the other hand, is one of the best things you can do for your body. (Both my kids did recreational gymnastics when they were young, but it isn't something that I would have supported as a team sport).

It is also my experiences that swim coaches have a higher rate of having an attitude of helping each child their their potential than most sports. It really is about "personal best" and not about beating other people.

AND swimming (real swimming) requires controlled breathing. Controlling our breathing is a pivotal step to control our emotions. In this respect, it's very like yoga.
Interesting, thanks. She's actually got 4 strokes, but is not at a high enough level to be on the team at her swim school. She will soon, though. one of the things her vision and physical therapists always try to get her to do is RELAX. It seems like the things that really help her do that are art, music, and swimming. I gotta find a way to get this girl swimming more!
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#30 of 40 Old 05-01-2010, 06:06 PM
 
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The other reason swimming is good for kids with lots of energy is that it gives proprioceptive feedback to the whole body. Kids who get 'in trouble' for crashing into other kids often need more help figuring out where their bodies are in space, and swimming helps that. And it tires them out!

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