Your role as a parent

Rhythmic image 1Although this article is talking about gymnastics, the material is relevant to those parents whose kids are involved in any competitive sport.

Competitive gymnastics programs provide many benefits. They develop self-discipline, good sportsmanship, and time management skills. Competitions allow the gymnast to experience success, and to learn how to deal with defeat, while becoming healthy and physically fit.

As a parent, your major responsibility is to provide a stable, loving and supportive environment. This positive environment will encourage your child to progress and love what they do. Show your interest by ensuring your child’s attendance at all practices, and by coming to the competitions.

Remember, your child is the gymnast. Children need to establish their own goals and make their own progress towards them. Be careful not to impose your own standards or goals.

Try not to overburden your child with winning and achieving. The most important part of gymnastics is that your children learn about themselves, while enjoying the activity. Gymnastics is about learning and enjoyment which can create a positive self-image within your child.

Parents serve as role models, and their attitudes are often emulated by their children. It is important to be aware of this, and show good sportsmanship at all times.

Specifically, please help your child get ready the night before the competition. By ensuring that their bag is packed with all they need for the next day. This will alleviate any ” last minute “panic attacks as you run around looking for those forgotten items.

The drive to the competitions should be as stress-free as possible. Last minute technical suggestions by parents are unnecessary. When you bring your child to the competition gym, please give her a hug and a kiss, and tell her that you love her, good luck, etc. Then, you can hand her over to her coach. Then promptly attend to your volunteer duties if you have any. Please note, that a competition is run by parents’ volunteers and can only be successful if everybody work as a team.
During the competition, we like to keep things as much like the practice as possible. Generally, the practice area is off limits to parents due to space restrictions and safety (yours and the athletes’). However, if your daughter needs you before she is finished competing, the coach will come and get you.

If your daughter does well at the meet, congratulate her and say how proud you are and how her hard work paid off. If she doesn’t win (or does poorly), do not criticize her and do not show that you are disappointed in her. Do not compare your daughter’s performance to other gymnasts. Tell her that she did the best she could and that there is always other competitions, where she will try to do better. Do not put blame on the coach or judges, poor lighting, etc. If she feels like crying after the competition, let her feel down - the stress should come out somehow. Just hug her and say that you love her and that the most important part of the event is participation and learning.
Good luck to all our competitors!!! Have a great season!!!

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