If there’s one thing all parents have in common, it’s dedication to their child’s success and development. Parents will go about it different ways, many find themselves on a quest to immerse their young child in experiences that educate and challenge them. Now, I know I’m biased, but even if I weren’t, I’d still root for tumbling as THE cornerstone of children’s development activities. And, here are my top four reasons why:
- Movement fundamentals. Many children can do a somersault before they can jump—that means they can tumble before they can do many other things—how cool is that? Tumbling teaches balance, basic (and complex) coordination, and body awareness; something every child, from toddlerhood on up, needs to learn.
- It’s pre- preschool (and after) skills. So much of tumbling isn’t about the actual physical feats; it’s about learning emotional and social skills.
When your youngster enters a tumbling program, they’ll learn much more than flips and flexibility. At the earliest of ages, they’ll have one of their first experiences learning from someone who isn’t their own parent or immediate caretaker. They’ll learn how to listen, follow directions, and wait their turn. Socially, they’ll be exposed to peers, learn to share, interact with other adults, and converse and communicate.
Young school-age children will continue building social skills and learn to engage with people of all ages. They’ll learn respect and discipline, while also finding their own potential and expanding on perseverance, goal setting, focus and resiliency.
- Building blocks. Did you know that some of the best football players, divers, skiers and pole vaulters have come through tumbling programs? That’s because tumbling develops more than just hard skills (like throwing a ball or catching); they serve as building blocks for so many transferable skills like strength, coordination, body awareness, timing, and more. Those skills will help them in other sports—not to mention daily life.
- Confidence and awareness. One of the biggest challenges for children to overcome is their own self-awareness and acceptance. Tumbling helps them to learn exactly what they’re capable of—and to be proud of their abilities and accomplishments. By building confidence, tumblers learn to place more emphasis on what they can than comparing physical attributes and what they can’t. Confidence at an early age is THE MOST empowering and important gift we can give our children.
There are plenty of programs out there that you could choose to enrich your young child’s education and life experiences, but I believe that you’d be hard pressed to find one with more benefits—and more well-rounded benefits—than tumbling. Yes, I’m biased—but in this case, I’m biased for a good reason: Tumbling really is the best for young children!
Nicole Myers-Pugh is one of the owners of PCT Cheer and Tumble in Mississauga, ON. A former Canadian ranked gymnast, Nicole now spends her time passionately teaching the skills she learned in childhood to the 600 athletes of PCT and her own two glorious children.