Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we may earn a small commission, if you choose to make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you.
Yes, yes, yes. It’s good for strength and flexibility. But gymnastics has dozens of benefits for children and their development that go far beyond strength and will serve them well for years. As we all binge gymnastics awesomeness at the 2021 Olympics, now is a perfect time to share with you why gymnastics is amazing and you absolutely should say “yes” to your child who just watched Suni Lee or Samuel Mikulak and is begging to learn the sport!
It’s no secret that gymnastics is my favorite sport or that my daughter is a competitive gymnast. But it’s not a new love. I think my love begin when I watched Mary Lou Retton score perfect 10s and a gold medal way back in the 80s. That was also around the same time my mom signed me up for gymnastics. Well, it was kind of a gymnastics, dance combo class? I think? I only remember the gymnastics part. But based on the costume I’m pictured in for a recital or showcase or something, it was some mix.
Another tidbit to keep in mind is that in my 20s, I taught gymnastics for several years. Honestly, it’s my favorite past job, hands down. I got to play with kids, teach them cool things, teach their parents fun things, laugh, flip, give high fives. It was awesome!!
Plus with my background in child development and preschool, it was a perfect fit. And I got to attend some amazing trainings and workshops full of information and tools. So when I talk about the benefits of gymnastics for children, I know my stuff 😉
Side note: Our home away from home, Empire Gymnastics, is growing like crazy and is looking for new rec coaches to add to the Empire Staff Family. Experience is preferred but not necessary as they will train you. Check out their Facebook page for the current openings for rec coaches, team coaches, and childcare staff.
21 Benefits of Gymnastics for Kids
Let’s jump in!
The obvious benefits that most people think of are absolutely true.
- Strength: Your child will build strength in a rec gymnastics class while having fun and not even realizing it.
- Flexibility: Same thing, different awesome benefit. Your child will increase flexibility while having a blast.
- Balance: Many skills in gymnastics require balance, which your child will slowly get better at.
- Coordination: Let’s be honest. Coordination is not a skill many children have naturally. Gymnastics will teach them how to control and move more than one thing at a time.
Okay, easy enough, right? Obvious benefits of gymnastics for children. Moving on to some others:
5. Fitness: Being involved with gymnastics and having fun while increasing strength, flexibility, balance, coordination is also helping them develop a mindset that will connect “fitness” with “fun” and help lead to an overall active lifestyle.
6. Self – Control: Another skill that many children don’t come by naturally. While being powerful is key in gymnastics, controlling that power, controlling their balance, controlling their body is just as important. And their mind …
7. Determination: Rare is the child or person who does something perfectly the first time, every time. As children progress through drills and skills, they are learning that if at first you don’t succeed, keep going. Keep trying.
8. Confidence: There is nothing more purely joyful than a child’s face when they get a new skill that they have been working on! Gymnastics training is built on baby steps. Most of the times, kids don’t even realize the game they are playing or the activity they are doing is part of a progression to a new skill. Then bam! Handstand achieved! And they are so happy! And confident!
9. Risk-taking: Yes, that’s a benefit. Kids are able to safely take risks in gymnastics at their pace. They learn to assess the situation, use their tools and skills, take the risk, reap the rewards. Which goes hand in hand with how they are building confidence.
10. Conquering fear: Kids learn to take the risk. Trust their body, skills, and coaches. They learn to not let fear hold them back.
11. Hard work: Now these skills don’t come easy or quickly all the time. But not only do they build a “determination” mindset, they learn to actually put in the hard work to reach their …
12. Goals: Kids learn to look at not only what they are currently doing but what they are working towards and/or want to do next. They may not realize it at the time, but they are setting goals.
13. Focus: Gymnastics helps build focus as they work on skills and pay attention in class.
14. Sequencing: Basically learning how to put things in order. A forward roll is more than a foreward roll. Stand up tall. Arms up. Touch your toes. Tuck your head. Push and roll. Feet down. Reeeeeach forward. Stand up.
15. Social interaction: While gymnastics may be seen as an individual sport, classes and/or “training” are definitely a team atmosphere. Kids get to spend fun time working with other kids.
16. Listening: Not only do they spend time with other kids, they will spend time with (and bond with) their coach which means learning to listen to and follow instructions from an adult (who isn’t Mom or Dad).
17. Taking Direction: Not only do they learn to follow instructions from a teacher or coach, they are learning to make corrections and changes based on feedback from their coach.
18. Teamwork: They learn how to be a good teammate to other kids. They learn to cheer for others, have empathy for others, and how to be part of a team.
19. Nutrition: You get more into this side of things with longer classes, longer trainings such as taking more than one rec class or if you find yourself on the competitive side of things. Kids need to properly fuel their bodies to stay healthy and strong.
20. Time Management: This is another one that you see more of on the competitive side of things or when taking longer or multiple classes. Kids learn how to manage their time and responsibilities to balance their sport, school work, home life, and social life.
21. Saving the best benefit of gymnastics for last: IT’S FUN!
These skills will absolutely translate and carry over to their home and school life!
The correlation to academics could be a whole additional article. But we’ll save that for another day. That and how gymnastics is beneficial for children with sensory and/or attention issues. Heavy work, proprioception and vestibular input, etc, etc. 17. Time Management: Kids have to learn to juggle activities, school, and such when they have outside activities. This is especially true if you enter the competitive side of the sport.
I could also do a whole other article with 21 Somethings as a Team Mom. That may be next, because it’d be fun. But I digress.
Gymnastics is an amazing sport for children and their development! Physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, it would take me ages to list and explain every single one. But at the end of the day, it’s so much fun!
For our local peeps, we have HUGE fans of Empire Gymnastics, obviously. My daughter has been training there for just over 5 years. The staff has become family. And I wholeheartedly recommend them.
You can sign your child up for a free trial class by calling (803) 359-2420. Their website is www.empiregymnasticssc.com or click the box over on the side bar or top of our website.
For none local peeps, ask your friends where they love and WHY! Almost every gym offers a free trial class. If it doesn’t go swimmingly the first time but it’s not a safety or serious issue, always ask if you can try one more trial class. Some times little ones need to warm up a bit as gyms tend to be loud.
And parents of itty bitty kids, Parent Child Gymnastics is so, so beneficial for your child in the season of huge milestone growth! Again, probably should write that article, too.