Gymnastics can be great fun for both toddlers and their parents. Often, parents may not consider looking at a gymnastics gym for “toddler and me” classes for very young kids. They may assume that 12 or 18-month-old children are too young to enjoy the benefits of gymnastics classes.
While these young toddlers may be too young for some classes, researching and attending a gymnastics class geared toward that age range can be very beneficial. Attending a gymnastics class designed specifically for young toddlers can set them on a lifelong path of health, well-being, self-confidence, and strong social skills.
Toddler gymnastics for the youngest kids
USA Gymnastics identifies ages two through five as the time when children develop critical movement skills, making this time an ideal time to have kids in gymnastics classes. USA Gymnastics also notes that once a child can walk, typically anywhere from nine to 14 months, they are ready for a parent-toddler gymnastics class.
These youngest toddler classes are about teaching body awareness and body control as they roll, hop, climb, crawl, and walk over the mats. This also helps familiarize them with the space and equipment at a young age. While you can help them start to develop some balance and motor skills, including having the parent hold them as they stand on a balance beam or hang from a bar, strength, and endurance training is kept at a minimum.
Providing a suitable gymnastics class for toddlers between 12 and 24 months gives parents an excellent opportunity to enjoy time with their kids while helping the kids develop physically and socially.
Toddler gymnastics prep kids to become gymnasts
Competitive gymnasts have a fairly narrow age window, especially for those striving to compete at the highest levels (of course, Oksana Chusovitina is the exception to this rule!). Two and three-year-old toddlers are ready to learn tumbling skills. The appropriate focus for these toddlers’ gymnastic classes is learning the movements and skills that are the foundation of more advanced gymnastics.
They can start with moves such as somersaults, backward rolls, and two-handed cartwheels. Utilize some toddler-sized equipment, like walking on a low beam. In addition to advancing body awareness, physical skills, and flexibility, these classes also set the foundation for how they’ll learn and interact with their peers should they start introductory gymnastics classes at age five or six.
Is it “gymnastics”? A rose by any other name …
The bottom line is that if you design different levels of toddler gymnastics classes that address the appropriate physical ability and safety requirements for that age – the toddlers aren’t too young for that movement class. Whether it’s “gymnastics” or a toddler fun class comes down to labeling.
As a gymnastics gym owner, offering opportunities for toddlers to discover their potential and operating toddler classes at your gymnastics school is a great idea. More classes provide more revenue opportunities, but the opportunity is more significant than that.
Quality toddler classes get families into your system, which means with a good experience, your gym will be the top option when they decide to put their kids into a more formal gymnastics program at a later age. Graduating up to each new level of age-appropriate gymnastics classes will be a natural progression. You’ll also be able to identify early which students show a particular aptitude for gymnastics and can start talking to their parents about moving them into the more rigorous gymnastics program.
Early childhood development classes are available to parents in all sorts of environments, from community centers to swim lessons to early education. Providing opportunities for parents and toddlers to grow together, helping to strengthen a toddler’s body awareness, physical skills, and flexibility, not to mention building a lifelong love of a great sport are merely a few of the compelling reasons why your gym should start offering these classes.
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