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A lifelong love of health and fitness is not necessarily innate; it often starts during early childhood. Organized sports are a great way to instill a love for exercise and physical activity in your child. Discovering the best age for your child to start gymnastics, in particular, offers several benefits to your youngster.

These include the development of physical coordination, muscle control, and self-confidence. Child gymnastics also teaches valuable social skills such as making friends, sharing, helping others, and following instructions.

How Early Is Too Early?

According to many experts and coaches, the best age for your child to start gymnastics is three to four years old. This is the age when most kids can listen well and follow instructions. This is also the age range when a child tends to have the balance and fine motor skills necessary for gymnastics.

Classes for this age group introduce movement education, including tumbling, rolling, and jumping. Some programs also include exercise on the trampoline, tumble track, balance beam, and uneven bars. You can expect your 3- to 4-year-old to learn and memorize terms in a fun, relaxed environment.

Many kids develop fundamental movement skills between the ages of two and five, so this is an ideal time to begin gymnastics. For younger kids, the sport helps with body awareness and physical coordination. If your child likes the sport, early programs will help to cultivate that appreciation.

Reasons to Start Gymnastics Earlier

Here are some reasons to start gymnastics early:

  • Improved self-esteem: Your child learns how to reach goals, boosting self-esteem and confidence. The ability to set and achieve goals helps establish a strong work ethic at a young age.
  • Cognitive skills: Success in gymnastics requires spatial awareness. Coordinating activity with space limitations helps with neuromuscular development.
  • Physical development: Child gymnastics establishes healthy habits early, leading to lifelong benefits.
  • Sense of competition: Your child learns what it means to be competitive in a healthy way. Early programs also teach kids to correlate healthy behaviors to advantages in performance.
  • Increased flexibility: Children are usually more flexible at a younger age. An earlier program establishes fundamentals that serve your athlete as they mature.

Are Early Start Gymnastics Right for Your Child?

You may think your preschooler needs to be a prodigy to have a future in gymnastics. While natural-born talent is great, it’s not the only factor for success (and of course, it’s relatively rare). Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does your child like to climb, run, or jump?
  • Does your youngster have a lot of energy?
  • Does your kid like to dance or have an advanced sense of rhythm?
  • Is coordination a strong suit for your youngster?
  • Is your child enthusiastic about playing and socializing with others?
  • Is your kid naturally competitive?

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, now is a great time to start gymnastics. It’s a wonderful alternative or even complement to other sports that develop agility and hand-eye coordination, such as ballet, baseball, dance, and soccer.

What Can I Expect From a Child Gymnastics Program?

When it comes to your child, age is more than just a number. While programs vary and no two kids are the same, look for the following based on age level:

Age Three

Look for a child gymnastics program that emphasizes listening, social skills, coordination, and strength. This is one of your youngster’s earliest experiences with a school-like environment, so expect a program to cover colors, music, numbers, and basic memorization. It should teach fundamentals of the most basic movements, including rolling, jumping, and balancing.

Age Four

The right child gymnastics program continues the development of social skills and essential movements. There are more partner and group activities, and physical exercises include standard apparatuses such as the vault, balance beam, uneven bars, and trampoline.

Students should also learn about practicing safety. Advanced movement at this stage involves teacher-assisted skills such as cartwheels and handstands.

Ages Five to Six

With additional physical maturity and practice comes the ability to perform basic gymnastic skills, such as somersaults and backward rolls. Look for a program that includes social skill development along with flexibility, strength, and other motor skills.

Most programs geared toward children under the age of six are co-ed. That will start to change as your child advances through programs, and you may start to see classes specifically for little boys or girls.

Similarly, for toddlers 36 months and younger, programs involving parents and children (i.e., “Mommy and Me” classes) are helpful. You and your kid are a team, working on climbing and crawling. This is an opportunity for them to start socializing with others their age, but parent-and-child classes are much less common in gymnastics programs for older age groups.

Are You Ready to Start Gymnastics?

If you and your kiddo are ready to start gymnastics, you’ve come to the right place. Lake City Twisters Gymnastics is the perfect place for your child to learn the basics of movement and social skills.

Whether you’re looking for a fun activity for your preschooler or a competitive program for talented youth, we provide a safe environment with a team of knowledgeable and experienced coaches and instructors. Contact us today to find the right class for your youngster.