I find it hard to watch my child in competitions…
In the world of gymnastics, I hear a lot of parents saying things like ‘I can’t watch my child in their competition’, I’m afraid they are going to fall off during their routine’ or ‘I get so nervous before their competition’. So here are some areas for you to explore ahead of your child’s next competition.
Process your emotions first…
On the day of the competition ask yourself:
How am I feeling today?
How might that impact how you talk to your child before the competition
And how might it impact you whilst watching your child?
It is quite normal to feel nervous, worried or even anxious when watching someone you care about in a competition environment. One of the key factors for a lot of parents here is actually the lack of control over the situation as you just have to sit and watch.
Taking some time to notice and process your emotions will help you to provide the support your child needs. Also think about some of the ‘basics’ for you on a competition day:
Competition days can be long and a lot of hours inside - can you drop your child off and then maybe go for a walk before the competition starts.
Think about your food for the day as well as your child’s - a lot of facilities will have a lack of options so going prepared will help you balance your mood throughout the day.
Catch up with friends - Priority number one will be for you to support your child but remember that these competitions will provide you with a chance to see people you haven’t seen for a while.
Discuss competition days with your child…
We often find ourselves guessing what children want from us at a competition or doing things that feel comfortable for us rather than prioritising their needs. Here is a little task for you to explore with your child:
What does your child want / need from you on the day of the competition?
You may find it useful to break this down to a few focus areas, the night before, the morning of, in the car on the way, when you arrive, during the competition, while they are showing their routines, after the competition or on the way home in the car.
Your child’s needs will change as they get older and compete at different events, so it is important to complete this on a regular basis to make sure it is up to date.
#itstheirjourney - do the best you can to support your child. This will be influenced by many things that you are juggling in your life so don’t be too hard on yourself.