What is the Best Age for my Child to be Starting Gymnastics?

Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders

If you’re concerned about the effects of childhood obesity, starting gymnastics is a great way to demonstrate the importance of physical fitness to your child. Gymnastics lessons teach kids that regular exercise is a fun part of living a healthy lifestyle. In addition, starting gymnastics can help children develop self confidence while making new friends.

Gymnastics for children may include jumping on a trampoline.
Gymnastics for children may include jumping on a trampoline.

Children are naturally very limber, so gymnastics lessons provide an easy way to help them develop strength and muscle control. In fact, many experts believe that starting gymnastics is a good preparation for future athletic activities. For this reason, many gymnastics classes for young children have an equal number of male and female participants.

Starting gymnastics at a fairly young age is the ideal choice for children who want to pursue gymnastics long term.
Starting gymnastics at a fairly young age is the ideal choice for children who want to pursue gymnastics long term.

At first glance, a child’s gymnastics class may appear to be merely a form of supervised play. Kids may work with a ball pit, bar, vault, tunnels, trampoline, and balance beam. There is often music and a weekly theme such as animals or nature. The atmosphere is fairly relaxed and informal, but the skills children learn serve as a basis for future gymnastics activity.

Gymnastics lessons teach kids that regular exercise is a fun part of living a healthy lifestyle.
Gymnastics lessons teach kids that regular exercise is a fun part of living a healthy lifestyle.

Although it is possible to find gymnastics classes for children as young as one year old, most experts say the ideal age for starting gymnastics is three to four years old. At this age, most children can listen and follow simple directions. They also have the fine motor skills and balance that is the necessary foundation for gymnastics study.

Gymnastics is a sport that can be practiced well into adulthood.
Gymnastics is a sport that can be practiced well into adulthood.

There are several factors you may wish to consider when deciding if gymnastics is right for your child. When your child plays, does he/she seem to enjoy racing, jumping, and tumbling? Does your child enjoy socializing with other children? Does he/she become frustrated when practicing a new skill?

Young children sometimes incur minor injuries when they're learning gymnastics.
Young children sometimes incur minor injuries when they're learning gymnastics.

If you are concerned about enrolling your toddler in gymnastics, it is important to remember that a qualified instructor understands how to minimize the risk of injury. When your child is supervised by an experienced gymnast, starting gymnastics is no more dangerous than spending an afternoon playing at the local park.

For serious study, starting gymnastics at fairly young age is the ideal choice. However, gymnastics is a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Preteens, teenagers, and young adults can still enjoy the benefits of starting gymnastics. Although older children may be slightly less flexible, they tend to be blessed with greater self discipline. With regular practice, it’s possible for them to develop many of the same skills as someone who began lessons at a much earlier date.

Most experts recommend a child be able to demonstrate fine motor skills before beginning gymnastics.
Most experts recommend a child be able to demonstrate fine motor skills before beginning gymnastics.
Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders

Dana holds a B.A. in journalism and mass communication from the University of Iowa. She has loved being part of the wiseGEEK team ever since discovering the joys of freelance writing after her son was born. Dana also hones her writing skills by contributing articles to various blogs, as well as creating sales copy and content for e-courses.

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Discussion Comments

anon79193

i started when i was two and to be honest it's never to early. when your young you pick it up so much faster. the more you train the better you become. from my experience if you have a good coach who is committed and serious then the performer will do the best they can achieve.

anon76520

Of course, some of the world's Olympic gold medalists started at about six years old. 6.5 years isn't too old at all to take gymnastics seriously. Anyone at any age can do gymnastics, but younger children have a better advantage.

anon17590

My daughter has started gymnastics class at 6 1/2 year of age. She is doing nice and her coach is happy with her performance and fitness. Still she could take it seriously?

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