Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gymnastics, or How I Push My Kiddo to Have Fun

If you have your child signed up for any kind of class or activity (outside of school or preschool), you know how important it is that they make the effort. Because, you know, otherwise, why are you paying for it? Ballet, swimming, team sports, art classes...whatever it is, they should try their best, right?

I had this issue with my kiddo a few months ago regarding her gymnastics class. When she first started, she was excellent, but at the start of the fall session, her enthusiasm seemed to wane. At least, her enthusiasm for gymnastics waned. Goofing off with her friends, playing in the chalk, and choosing a prize from the prize box were her top priorities. At $40.00 a month, averaging $10.00 a class, those cheap plastic toys became pretty expensive.

One night, hubby took the kiddo to class and came home with a bad report. The kiddo just wasn't making an effort to do the gymnastics part of class. I was pretty upset, mostly because she had been doing so well--one of the better students--and to hear that was disappointing. Later that night, I told the kiddo that she wouldn't be going to gymnastics anymore if she wasn't going to make an effort. I expected her to pay attention to her instructor, take her turn instead of chit-chatting, not get in anyone's way, leave the chalk in the bucket, and choose a prize and let someone else take her turn at the prize box. Otherwise, it just wasn't worth it. To say that she was upset would be an understatement. However, through her tears, she said that she just wanted Mama to be happy. I replied that I would be happy if she were doing an activity she really enjoyed--enough to want to go to class and participate. If  not gymnastics, well, we could try something else.

I'm not one of those moms who schedules something for her child for every day of the week. Hardly. One activity, one day a week. Maybe something else like swimming for a month or so. That's it; she does have school, after all, and most importantly, she needs time to play. And the kiddo can play just fine without me paying $40.00 a month for her to do so.

After our conversation about my expectations, I talked to the kiddo's gymnastics coach, who agreed that she could do better. I love this coach; she is great with kids, and she understands how to connect with them. She has put a little pressure on the kiddo, who is back to working hard in gymnastics class. In just a few weeks, she has improved her cartwheels and can do them reasonably well for her age without getting frustrated. And in this week's class, she did an awesome kip. I'm not sure what a kip is, but if I hadn't put my foot down and enlisted the aid of hubby and her coach, we probably would have stopped gymnastics. I'm glad we didn't, because the kiddo enjoys it so much. And she especially enjoys it when she does it well.

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