When Do I Call It Quits? Tumbling Class...

Updated on April 19, 2010
C.B. asks from Oskaloosa, KS
12 answers

My son is enrolled in a 12-session (1 session per week), $120 tumbling class. we have gone now 4 times. each time I had hoped would get easier. well it's not. he still barely participates, and spends most of the time in the watching area with me, whining and fussing and squirming and wiggling and being generally disruptive. he will play with the kids during one or two of the acitivities, and seems to enjoy it for a few minutes...but if it is not "exciting" enough (if it doesn't involve fun toys or other tools), like the floor excercises and stretching, forget about it. i have told him repeatedly, because i know he is naturally shy, you don't HAVE to play with the other children. you can sit with me quietly and watch. but those are your choices. play with the other kids, or sit and watch with me. i have not wanted to pack up and leave early because i really hate wasting my money like that. and because i see no reason, after FOUR sessions, why he wouldn't be loosening up and participating!! i am flabergasted as to how to deal with this. he flat out told me he didn't want to go, this morning (after saying he was excited and wanted to, last night before bed.) well i finally gave in and we left before the session was over. i was so frustrated with him. when do i call it quits? am i doing something wrong in my handling of this situation? for 3 1/2 years he has minded me SO well, and now i just feel totally helpless. HELP!

PS i should probably add (thanks ladies for your responses so far) that they don't allow him to play on any other equipment or toys except what the class is doing - it's actually at a gymnastics place and the girls that teach it are gymnastic students. also, he started preschool recently and we do go to church/sunday school...and i am seriously starting to think that is enough. we are not highly social in my family in general...he might just really not like it. and he didn't ask me to put him in this class. maybe when he's older and asks to be in something, then we can fight this battle...i am seriously leaning towards not going back at this point. still would love opinions, and thanks to those so far!

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So What Happened?

thanks ladies so much. at this point i am leaning towards letting him try one more time - he says he wants to go again, although i feel like maybe he is saying that because he knows i want him to do it. so i might let him try it one more time...but i am more open now to dropping it. if we do go, i am going to try really hard to be open minded and patient with him. my frustration was really coming mostly from how disruptive he was being, he just isn't capable of sitting still and quietly. anyway, unfortunately, there probably won't be another attempt at a different class until next spring, since we did this with our tax return and can't really afford to just start another one. that's another reason i REALLY hate the idea of dropping it - i didn't get these chances when i was little, and i guess i just feel like he's so lucky that he was able to do it - plus i just knew he'd have fun if he ever gave it a real try...but a three year old doesn't think that way! lol. anyway thank you for helping me see that it isn't the end of the world...just a (very expensive!!) lesson learned...I also need to keep in mind this is supposed to be "for him", and if he's hating it, then what is the right thing to do for my son? so that helps answer my question as well.

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answers from Kansas City on

Do you take him to the Johnson County Parks & Rec classes? My 3 year old daughter is also enrolled there.

I would say it's probably time to quit. I hate to say it, but really, it's only making you both miserable. We went through something similar before we found tumbling (which she loves). We tried soccer. After the 1st time she said she didn't like it. The 2nd time she cried and wanted to leave. We tried it one last time... and, after a temper tantrum and disrupting the entire class, we left and never went back. You can't force him to do something he doesn't want to do. Just keep looking for something else that he might enjoy. You'll find his niche, I'm just guessing that tumbling isn't it.

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answers from State College on

I used to work in a gym, great way for him to exercise and work on balance, etc. Will they either let you out on the floor with him to encourage or help or else let you leave so he cannot see you. I mainly coached birthday parties and summer camp, but pretty much grew up in the gym for my own practices. For parties parents were allowed on the floor since they were short, but usually unless it was for a 2-4 year old most of the parents watched from somewhere else or dropped their child off. Some of the younger ones dropped their children off too. For camp everyone was a drop off and it started at age 2 as long as they were potty trained.

I know some places don't really like parents on the floor once the kids are a certain age, it can make it harder for the coach, but if he just wants to be with you maybe they will let you go out there with him for a class or two. I know and understand why he can't play on something else - liability, insurance, not always safe especially if there is anything else going on in the gym at the same time. Having been on both sides coaching you worry when they want to go off since you are trying to keep everyone safe, while having fun and practicing you worry that you are going to accidentally hit or land on a little one, and yes I have seen that happen and the little one was okay, but the older girl ended up hurting herself.

Another option is see if you can maybe just go outside the building or the area where he can see you, since then he may want to participate more. You can always come right back after about 5 minutes or less and take a quick peak and if he is participating great and if not he can come and hang out with you. I've seen a lot of kids do better when they can't see Mom or Dad. The same goes for in the gym when they fall the mat they land on is usually very soft and some parents make a big deal out of it and they end up crying versus letting them know what a great crash they just had and they think it is funny and you look over and three more kids are crashing on purpose.

If he really doesn't like and it isn't happy and you have talked to the coaches, maybe it is time for a break. You could always take a week or two off the class and see if he mentions it or wants to go if you bring it up after a week of not going. If he is joining in more with each class I would keep going, but if he really doesn't enjoy it maybe revisit it again later. It might also help if he knows one or two other kids in the class before it starts or can get together with them between weeks so he has a friend in class.

Good luck to you both!

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answers from Portland on

Kids are not allowed to sign contracts for a good reason. This is a common problem – parents really want to provide opportunities for their kids and sign them up for what they THINK the child will want.

Read How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk to find out how to empathize with your son. Once he thinks you are supporting him and not pushing him, he might be able to loosen up. You will probably have to loosen up, too.

The money is not wasted if it becomes a learning experience – whether for him or for you. Good luck!

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answers from Kansas City on

I agree with the options. My oldest doesn't like to do too many activities, and it's okay. When she started kindergarten she decided she didn't want to do any other activities, and now at the end of kindergarten she has started soccer, but she still says things like "I wish I had more time at home with you." Don't feel like he'll be behind if you quit or you are teaching him something bad. It's great to teach them to try things, and sometimes they just don't work out. Enjoy your time with him and find fun things to do together.


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answers from Pittsburgh on

I know he's little, but do you have to stay there? Sometimes my son would join in more if we were not around..even if you're just in the hallway, still nearby, or something.

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answers from St. Louis on

Who is making the decisions to go to tumbling-you or him? Why are you wasting any more money? Give this one up Mom and start a conversation with him--today there are many kids that are "geeks" they would rather work on their computers than go out in the world--well talk to him and see what he wants to do---proceed from there---it might just surprise you what he really wants to do and it may also have others involved in that program--it is worth a try. If you have not worked out the tumbling it could be that he feels inadaquate to this exercise-he may like something else so look for those too. Does he take music lessons? This is a great way to get out there and do things and who knows he might consider doing something in school band some day? 3 1/2 is not to young to start with some music stuff---sometimes pre schools have music sessions during their daily lessons. Don't forget play dates with friends at a park or even hanging out at one of the fast food places with the "kids gym area" let him find himself in that space. Good luck. Don't give up most kids don't know what they want to do and it takes awhile to find things they like. Mine did tumbling,scouts,camp-day and later overnight, music-piano and then band when they got older, baton twirling, athletics programs, swimming etc--it did several things---it got them out of the house and they met new kids all the time and discovered what they liked and came home happy and tired after their programs so it did good for them and us. Go explore...



answers from St. Louis on

I think that if he's not enjoying it, don't go back. Or go back with him, and on the way, say things like, "We're going to gymnastics today, and I want you to try it. If you don't like it, we can leave and never go back. But I would really like you to try it." He might just like knowing that he has options.


answers from St. Louis on

I'd say that after 4 times attempting and hoping this would be easier for your little one, it would be better to quit . The idea and the objective of these programs is to develop and enhance a kid's certain skills BUT in a FUN and ASSERTIVE way. I know that most of the times it's necessary and important to keep trying, but you have been doing this for 4 times and you don't want your child to loose interest in doing healthy and educative programs, so let him take a break and then try something else. There are plenty of activities out there that you may want to try. All these programs are very good but you can allow your child to play in the playground, in the pool or somewhere else with another kids and still he will be exercising, developing strength, coordination.... etc (and all the fantastic skills that are promoted by these businesses) .
Even though it is a cliche sentence, kids are different and each of them has different interests, likes, dislikes and abilities. Ones will be developed over time and some others in a short period of time.
I also agree that we should teach our children that sometimes they may need to do things they don't like, but still your kid is too little for that and you have to teach him mostly the love for learning and the healthy interest for exercising.
As another mom said H., and I totally agree, this was another learning experience for your little guy and yourself as a parent.



answers from Seattle on

I would recommend that you stick with it. I am doing a music class with my daughter. Though she is quite a bit younger than your son (2.5 now), we started at 9 months and it took over a year for her to warm up to the teacher and the other kids. For the first year she just clang to me.
I don't know if you have him in pre-school, but especially if you don't, I would want to make sure he gets used to socializing before he hits kindergarten.
Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

I am not sure if this is a park district type class but when we took our twins to a tumbling class at the park district. The teachers said that it's meant to be fun . If they want to go play with something that the class isn't working on ,let them and go with him and have fun . Eventually , by the end of the class they will start participating and listening. The parents that didn't hear her say that were frantically trying to get the child to behave and lost the purpose of the class. So, I would talk to the teacher to clarify the intent of the class. My twins were participating and listening by the end of the 8 weeks. Good luck and have fun!

Also, if this is a class he is meant to do this class without a parent,he will do well if he doesn't see you.



answers from Tulsa on

It is very hard for kids to concentrate and pay attention when parents are present. I learned this when we enrolled our little one in Gymanstics. We aren't even allowed in the dance classes. Now that I work for the couple who own the Gym and Dance Studio I see more of what they were talking about. Kids just run off to mom and dad all the time when they are supposed to be in class. It's important that the kids depend on the teachers. It may be hard but if you were to just drop him off or stay out of sight he may particiapte more. Also, kids learn a lot even when they don't appear to be paying attnetion. If you paid for the classes then continue to take him and encourage him to join in. Stay out of sight and see if it helps.


answers from Kansas City on

He really may not like gymnastics. I know at 3 they can start T-ball. You may want to try that instead. Some kids like certain sports more than others. Ask him if he'd like to try something else. Hope this helps. Good luck and God Bless.

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