It is the responsibility of the parents, in any sport, to ensure that the child knows what to expect. Gymnastics is certainly no different; the only difference is the moves performed, rather than running dozens of laps or swimming for hours. Ensuring that you teach your child a few things can be a great help to their overall success in gymnastics as well as your sanity as the parent.
Try to teach your child immediately that they are going to make mistakes. It is how they handle these mistakes that will determine their success. If a child is determined, that each time they try a new routine it must be perfect without fail then they are going to ultimately harm their self-esteem. It is important to understand that mistakes are going to happen, but accepting that fact and moving along to learn from them is very important.
Additionally, it is a wise idea to help your child decide what is most important to them in their life. Set up a schedule for their activities that reflects this. Whether their goal is to become an Olympic athlete or even just use gymnastics as a simple hobby having some specific ideas in mind about what they want to do in the future is often helpful in keeping young gymnasts focuses on the major goals that they have.
Another important lesson for your child is teaching patience with the dozens if not hundreds of repetitions that are necessary in order to truly master a skill. Many gymnasts practice a skill as many as thousands of times before the movement feels completely natural and flowing to them. This is not unheard of however; most children really do not have the patience for this and need help in learning this skill. It is important to really give your child the help they need in ensuring they practice enough. You can never do too many repetitions of a new skill.
One last step that all parents should take that is often overlooked is setting up a schedule that includes time away from gymnastics and school. Your child needs plenty of time to practice gymnastics of course, but it is also very important that they have the opportunity to rest and enjoy themselves as well. Working and pushing too hard can result in your child burning out or injuring themselves, which is never what we want.
I have always said that parents can make or break a gymnast. There are many pushy parents in the gymnastics world. Try not to become one of these. Work with you child rather than against them. Working towards your child’s success is well worth the small amount of time that is necessary to ensure that you are setting them up to be a success rather than a failure. While everyone has different ways of handling schedules and stress, working with your child to help them plan and adjust quickly is one of the best things you can do for your child.
Never be afraid to ask your child’s coach for help. If you have a problem and you are unsure of how to handle it, such as helping your child calm down before meets, your child’s coach can usually help. They have the knowledge and experience to make your job as a parent much easier. Use them to your benefit, rather than avoiding them. They are here to help you, and your child, attain the exact results that you desire rather than leaving you frustrated and confused.