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Gymastics or Dance Classes for 3 year old DD?

  • Gymastics

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Now normally I would not feel compelled to spend lots of money putting my kid into classes, but we spend alot of time at home right now. Too much really, and I'm not expecting that to get much better in January which is my EDD. I want my DD to be able to have something special that only <b>she</b> gets to do, I think it would help with the transition from being my only child to being the big sister. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/energy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Energy"> So, I'm trying to decide between creative dance, or gymastics (she's 3 so not old enough for Martial arts or sports yet). Both are expensive, but I think we'll be channeling all of her Christmas money from reletives (we are military so we don't live close to anyone) into paying for a few months of classes. I showed her the gymastics and she seemed intrigued but the dance classes showed little girls in ballerina outfits and just the idea of wearing girly stuff made her excited. I'm reluctent to do "girly girl" stuff, because she's very tomboy even at 3yo, but that's what she wants. I'm also reluctant because the dance girls have a recital at the end, but the gym kids have no pressure put on them to peform, they just get to go and learn how to tumble, etc. So, do I give in to what she wants to do even though I think she will end up bored and acting up in class? OR do I go with what I know she will enjoy?
 

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Can you pay by class or only a couple of classes and see what she enjoys more? Do they allow that? Maybe try dance first because she seems much more excited in it. On the other hand you can always buy her a tutu and send her to gymnastics. I was the girl who wanted ballet only to get the outfit and quit as soon as I got it. Wore that green sparkly tutu until it fell apart <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Then I found horses and have spent my life in muck <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

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Maybe this is not what you were looking for, but have you considered swim classes (at the YMCA, for example)? Around here, at least, Y classes are a lot cheaper than dance. They are the highlight of my DD's week. And you don't need to buy anything more than a bathing suit and the classes (so, no expensive tutus and tights and such).
 

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So much will depend upon the gym or dance studio.<br><br>
We started in gymnastics. My oldest daughter was really good. She was picked out when she was 4 and started on the team track. At the time, I had no idea what that meant but essentially, it meant that they saw promise in her and wanted to train her - hard. They slowly increased her time in the gym from 2 hours to 4 to 6 to 8 and by the time she was 6 years old, they wanted her training 12 hours a week. We pulled our daughter out at this point and haven't ever looked back.<br><br>
Many gyms are in the business of churning out elite athletes. That's their only goal. They don't really care much about how they get there. So, their time, money and effort goes into team gymnastics. They may offer recreational gymnastics but, it may be a cheap side show.<br><br>
So, you'll really need to research gyms. If they're an elite gym, then you know where their focus is. If they're a non competitive gym then, I think they'll invest the time and engery into a really good recreational program.<br><br>
Dance has its pros and cons too. Our first dance studio was not for us - they had inappropriate music, slutty costumes, and the mothers were clearly a clique and no one was getting in their way.<br><br>
We're now at another dance studio and we're so much happier. They do recitals but, they're not mandatory. They do the Nutcracker at Christmastime but, it's not mandatory. They're a very conservative studio and the teachers are fantastic.<br><br>
They've approached my oldest about dancing with their company but, she's made the decision not to and it's fine. They still offer quality dance classes for those students who don't want to do dance company.<br><br>
For us, dance is a much better fit. Plus, when I looked at gymnastics and at the coaches who were in college and beyond, one thing I saw was that the majority of them had career ending injuries early on. Gymnastics is very hard on the body. Dance is something that can be done your whole life.
 

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I think dance and gymnastics might be almost equal, I would choose according to the teacher, the facility and the community there
 

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It depend of classes and teacher(coach):<br><br>
1.- Gross motor activities.....learn to jump with 1 foot, 2 feet, with the arms and down, etc.<br>
2.- coordination... learn to walk, walk and keep the rithm, learn to dance( earn the music).<br>
3.- physical prep.: flexilbilities, exercicies with different part of the body( shoulder, arms,abs, etc....gymnastic is much better in this. Usually dance classes iwith little one don't work much with the upper part of the body)<br>
4.- learn to be graceous...usually, much better in dance classes.<br><br>
I hope this can help you a little bit.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue">
 

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Do what you know she'll enjoy. She's too young to be able to predict what it will be like taking class week after week.<br><br>
She can wear a frilly girlie leotard to gymnastics. They just can't have sequins or anything that will tear the mats.<br><br>
Most girls here start in gymnastics and then move to dance around age 4 when they have more patience.
 

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My daughter is 3, and is in gymnastics. We have an awesome place where the teachers are laid back, the equiptment excellent, and everyone has a blast. She is able to go at her own pace, no one is pushing her, but she's learning skills and just plain having fun. The facility also has play dates and even kids' day out, where they entertain the kids for a couple of hours while parents can go shopping or whatever.<br><br>
Oh, and she wears a leotard with a skirt. They honestly don't care what the kids wear, as long as they're comfortable.
 

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All of my kids do dance starting at 18 months <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I have no opinion, but was wondering if you could do a trial class of each and see which you like best. All of the programs around here offer that.<br><br>
Also you might want to look at extra expenses. I know some dance programs require uniforms, shoes, costumes, etc. that could add up to $$.<br><br>
We have my almost 3 yo son in My Gym which is pricey but is really fun and age appropriate (non-competitive). The format for their hour long class is: circle time, free play, gymnastics instruction, more free play, a game, and a parent-share activity. Other than the price I can't say enough good things about it.
 

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How about getting her a dress up tutu to wear at home and then enrolling her in gymnastics?
 

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The BEST is free play in the gymnastics center, which is often called Parent and Me or open play. The gyms that offer it often cut it off at age 3, 4, or 5 so if you can get her into it, do it now! All that cool equipment, being able to jump into the pit whenever you want, etc.<br><br>
My DD did gymnastics at 3 and both dance and gym by 4. She continues to dance but prefers gym.<br><br>
I have seen a lot of crappy gym classes for 3 year olds, so make sure to watch before you sign up. When I say crappy, I mean sometimes the preschool classes don't really *do* anything fun or do the same thing over and over; or sometimes the instructors don't know how to put them in a circuit, so the kids spend a lot of time sitting on the floor waiting (rather than moving from station to station). But I've also seen really great classes for 3 year olds where they did all sorts of cool things and stayed busy the whole time.<br><br>
You know, gym is all about the leos. When you take her by the gymnastics center to look, see if they have a pro shop or a bunch of leos hanging on the wall. Or google GK Elite or Alpha Factor leotards. I imagine it's hard to appreciate them online though. They're really fantastic and wear hard, lots of mixed velour / foil, matching scrunchies, etc.<br><br>
Though to some preschool gym classes she can wear a skirted leo if she wants. (They'll be forbidden by school age classes.)<br><br>
At the local Y they have a gym n dance preschool combo where they wear their dance clothes but do 30 min gymnastics, 30 min pre-ballet.
 

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My DD started gymnastics at age 3, and loves it! We have found a fantastic gym though too, with very patient instructors who focus on learning skills and having fun doing it. They even created a special class for her so that I can make one trip a week instead of two since her brother also takes gymnastics. As far as leotards go, I have a friend who sews custom leotards for very reasonable that fit really well too (if you want to look, her site is <a href="http://www.flipsleos.com" target="_blank">www.flipsleos.com</a>). She has 2 girls in gymnastics that she sews for, has done some for the team there, and has done several for DD who is also very girly girl and likes "fancy" things.
 

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I am a ballet teacher and my DD is 2.5. She does a very recreational "kindergym" class once a week at the community centre, and another class at a real gymnastics' club. I think both are great and have their merits. The kindergym is more recreational with little emphasis on skills, whereas the club class is much more structured and they learn actual skills. Personally it seems like a 3 year old would get a good workout in most gymnastics classes...<br><br>
whereas in a ballet class.. well there are so many very bad ballet teachers out there. I have watched some teachers who have come and go at our school and I honestly don't know what they are thinking. They don't seem to have much awareness of what is appropriate for young children. Even certified teachers can fall into this category.<br><br>
Anyways we have decided to put DD in gymnastics and wait another year or two for ballet when she can take a specific teacher's class. I feel that the workout she gets in gymnastics is better, and being a very energetic and athletic girl I think gymnastics is more appropriate for her personality.<br><br>
When looking at a school for ballet I would look at their senior dancers. Is their school mostly focused on jazz/ tap etc. Do they do ballet exams ie. Cecchetti or Royal Academy of Dance? Do their dancers get accepted into pre-professional programs? Are their senior dancers technically strong? I would avoid any school that lets their teens teach the "baby's" a lot of schools have this practice and really the little ones need an experienced teacher, not someone who is easy to find and cheap to pay.<br><br>
I hope that helps you a bit!
 

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Then and now (dd is 5.5) She prefers dance.<br><br>
She's had 2 out of 4 bad gym coaches<br><br>
She's had 1 out of 4 bad dance instructors.<br><br>
Look around at studios and you'll find one you are comfortable with.<br><br>
eta: we've danced at 2 studios and have friends at others and I've never seen one where the recital is 'mandatory', true they have one; but you do not have to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you to everyone for their contributions. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/joy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="joy"> I'm not a dancer or a gymnast we figured out very early that I wasn't coordinated but DD doesn't seem to have that problem. Yeah, I talked to the studio and we can try both for free and then go with whatever she likes best. It seems like neither class is expecting a 3 year old to focus, which is what I'm worried about. And alot of it is just "monkey see, monkey do" which she will enjoy either way I think. So we'll just see which class she fits in better. Thanks for all the advice. I hadn't even though of the teachers being crappy/unqualified.
 

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My DD loves gymnastics.<br><br>
I agree that the YMCA may offer cheap classes. If you have several Y's in your area then I'd check with each one since all do different programs sometimes.
 

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A lot of places will let you try out a class before you pay for them.
 
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