Mommy and Me Gymnastics: The Benefits of Starting Young
The sport of gymnastics, which is based on body control through movements and skills, helps children succeed in everyday life. The benefits of gymnastics can be seen from the preschool program all the way to Junior Olympic levels. It can be seen in younger children through physical developments like body awareness and improved coordination. Health benefits and work ethics are created through gymnastics classes or team practices. The list of physical and cognitive benefits goes on, but these benefits can start well before children hit the three-year-old mark. Gymnastics can start as a tool in development starting at six months through Mommy and Me ( or Parent and Tot) classes. The first year of brain development is the most important and new experiences lay the future for learning and behavior. Parent and Tot classes give families a safe environment to bond with their child and promote healthy brain development through gymnastics.
Gymnastics at a Young Age Creates a Road Map for the Brain’s Pathways
The movements and activities in Parent and Tot classes help set up the brain for learning in the future. These movements organize and develop the roadmap for the brain. Children learn through gymnastics and play because they enjoy it and it stimulates repetition. Repetition is important for creating patterned neural pathways and it promotes writing. Parent and Tot classes include routines and repetition through stretches and circuits throughout the gym. Stretches at the beginning of the class remain the same every week and children go through circuits several times before changing to new activities. If you are looking to reinforce your expectations and schedule at home, consider the progress you could make by building pathways for these brain activities at gymnastics
The Four Pillars of Motor Skills
Parent and Tot classes provide an active and secure environment for babies to start developing motor skills. The four pillars that are required to build motor skills are head control, enough muscle tone, ability to rotate, and balance through equilibrium reactions.
1. Head Control
Head movement and control activates neck muscles and aids in crossing the midline. This is developed the most through tummy time.
2. Muscle Tone
Muscle tone is at the core of most development. Parent and Tot classes work on muscle tone by providing stations like monkey swings on the bar and climbing on ladders or blocks.
3. Ability to Rotate
Log rolls and forward rolling stations down a wedge work on the ability to rotate. Rotation is multi-planar and can occur on the belly, while sitting, crawling, or standing.
Balance and coordination is worked on through balance beams, running, and climbing ladders. Balance is introduced with objects and mats that encourage little ones to let go without the fear of injury.
Body Awareness Leads to Self Control
Other positive developments that Parent and Tot stations work on are body awareness and crawling. During stretching children touch body parts while singing the song “Head, shoulders, knees, and toes.” This reinforces their awareness as well as giving them tactical feedback. Body awareness can also be seen through balance stations, like standing on a wobble spot. One of the favorites for children is bubble time at the end. The children are prompted to clap the bubbles, which works on clapping movements as well as eye tracking.
The Importance of Crawling: More than a Milestone
Crawling is an essential motion that has multiple benefits. Crawling helps the left and right side of the brain work together, develop visual skills, and influences socio-emotional development. During Parent and Tot classes, children engage in crawling through tunnels, up stairs, and over blocks. Crawling is not jut a milestone or baby skill, it has been linked to successful reading development!
Tummy Time Travels to New Levels
Today, infants are spending more time on their backs and more time in plastic carriers. This means that they have less sensory input and less time to develop muscles. Tummy time for developing infants promote the development of neck, shoulder, and arm muscles and organizes the baby’s nervous system. Tummy time is a multi-sensory experience for developing two-month-olds up to babies that are walking. Parent and Tot classes incorporate touch, sounds, balance, vision, and muscle tone that stimulate bone and muscle growth. As children grow from 12 to 36 months other props, like scooters or fitness balls, can be added to build those muscles.
The Play 60 Movement
As lifestyles become busier, there is a greater need for families to spend quality time together. The quality of a child’s first relationship has a longer lasting effect than any other factor that can be controlled. As the technology intake increases and the work stress builds and builds, Parent and Tot creates a loving environment for families to interact and bond each week. The benefits of a Parent and Tot class aren’t just for the children though. These classes give parents of young children a chance to connect and build relationships in the community. This is an environment where parents can relax and enjoy their time with their little ones.
A Lifetime of Success
Parent and Tot classes helps build a positive foundation for children physically and cognitively. A decrease in physical movement has been noticed in today’s children. Because of this there have been issues with learning delays, poor coordination, and lack of focus, among other issues. Through Parent and Tot classes young babies from 6-36 months are growing in every way. Gymnastics promotes new and stimulating experiences that help build organize the road map of the brain. Parent and Tot circuits and stations work to develop the four pillars to motor skills. Body awareness, crawling, and tummy time are other positive benefits to improve the little ones physically. Parent and Tot classes have benefits for the whole family that last a lifetime.