Is your child using the couch as a trampoline? Gymnastics classes might be what he/she needs. Gymnastics is a great way to help your child develop the natural talent that you have realized for a while now. Your child will ultimately learn more beyond tumbling, as participating in a sport is more than just learning physical skills. Developing social and personal skills goes hand in hand with doing gymnastics along with a myriad of other skills. First-time gymnasts and their parents may not know what to expect in a class or what expectations they have to live up to in order to ensure a safe and exciting experience. Let’s take a look at five useful tips that first-time gymnasts could benefit from when being introduced to a gymnastics program.

1. Leave the Jewelry at Home

Gymnastics class is not a place to wear jewelry, so remember to leave it at home. Jewelry–including, but not limited to watches, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings–is a safety hazard. These items could get caught in the gymnastics equipment and cause your child serious, painful injuries. Before heading to gymnastics, see to it that your child removes all jewelry. If there is a medical reason for your child to wear jewelry, this may be an exception to the rule. If your child’s situation falls under this exception, talk with the program organizer to learn about the rules on medical jewelry. New piercings should remain to ensure proper healing, but studs are best at a low profile.

2. Hair Should Be Pulled Back

A gymnastics program typically requires that a child’s hair be pulled back, oftentimes in a ponytail, pigtails, braids or bun. Gymnasts with long hair should have it away from the face and secured with a hair fastener such as a rubber band to ensure their hair is not swinging around and getting caught on things or hitting people. When performing, long hair can be both a hindrance and hazard that can block the athlete’s view, which interferes with the positioning of the feet, for example, or get caught by the hand when performing certain skills.

3. Eat Carbs Before Class

A balanced and nutritional meal plan that has carbohydrates and protein-rich foods, fruits, and vegetables are essential for children that participate in sports. Kids need energy to perform at an optimal level and fueling up before practice is always a great idea. Kids should eat carbohydrate-rich foods 3 to 4 hours before gymnastics class to ensure proper digestion. Minimize the risk of your child getting an upset stomach or vomiting from eating fatty foods and then heading to gymnastics class. Greasy foods are not a good idea when participating in any sports.

4. Hydration is Key

When participating in gymnastics, as with any sport, it’s crucial that athletes stay hydrated at all times. Provide your child with a water bottle in order to always be prepared with water for classes. Depending on your kid’s age, the importance of water consumption may not be immediately understood, but always reinforce the importance of staying hydrated and the benefits it provides the body as a gymnast.

5. Have a Good Time

One of the many benefits of children’s gymnastics is that your child has the opportunity to have a lot of fun doing an activity he/she enjoys. While developing particular skills is an important part of excelling in gymnastics, if there is no enjoyment, it can quickly become a burden your child wants to escape from. Kids can have fun in various ways while doing gymnastics. For example, think about how making mistakes and falling over and over again when learning a new skill can be an encouraging moment to just laugh and get right back up.

Enrollment in gymnastics may be just what your child needs to develop their talent and grow into a more confident and gregarious person. First-time gymnasts may feel nervous on the first day, but that will turn into excitement as they get involved in their class. You can prepare your child by encouraging them to have fun, knowing the dos and don’ts of the gym, and ensuring that your child is eating and hydrating well.

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