Should I Start My 2 Year Old In Cheer?

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May 5, 2011
Hey guys,
I'm new here, and I've never been on this site before, so I'm sorry if this isn't where I should put this? Haha. My daughter just turned 2 and I want to put her in cheerleading, but I'm not sure how to go about it. I just want her to have an early start at it, so if 2 is too young then when is the right age? What teams do kids first start out on? Should she start on a youth league in our area, or go to an all star gym, or both?
Thanks :)

P.S. How dangerous is cheerleading? I’m one of those people who freaks out if someone bumps their head on the wall. :/
Just remembered something else. If you start cheering young will there be any long term health problems, like bad knees, etc, and will it stop you from developing normally? Like how gymnasts don't get their periods till their 16?
My advice to you is, if this is something you and your child really want and you feel that starting her in cheerleading early is the best course of action, do it! The younger she starts the more advanced she will become throughout the years. I wish my mother had started me much younger than she did. On the other hand if its injuries your concerned about just remember that injuries come with all sports, and if you really freak about it that much then its something to seriously consider. Cheerleading can be dangerous but if you and your daughter and the gym and coaches are taking the right precautions then all should be well. I know most people would not agree with starting your daughter this young but in my personal opinon I wish my mother had! Good luck deciding. Cheerleading is a great thing for young kids and I really feel it could be beneficial to your daughter wether she is 2 or not!
Welcome to the board!
First, the health issues because that's most important to me - development will depend on your child. Many athletic girls' cycle is delayed regardless which sport they might do. Many others have no delay. Musculoskeletal issues, same thing. The more time a child spends tumbling, I'm sure it's more impact on their body. Other than that, we know that exercise boosts the immune system, so that's a bonus, right?
I would look to an all star gym nearby that has a tiny team. The coaches should be experienced and have CPR and first aid training. You may be able to take her to a team practice to see if she is too young to start. If she can pick up on choreography, and remain focused enough, go for it. If it doesn't work quite yet, let her do tumbling or privates for a year or two. And who knows, she might not like it all.
IMO, safety is an issue in all sports and the higher the level, the greater the chance for injury. I haven't seen all star stats for cheer injury studies. My best guess is that it's much different from rec/league because the sport is done on a spring floor with spotters and qualified, certified coaches rather than on a hard floor or mat with un-trained volunteers. I say with all the love in the world, get over the bumps on the head. It happens.
Good luck!
I'm not 100% sure, but I think she has to be 3, even for a Tiny team. At least every gym we've been at they had to be 3.

That being said, if the gym will take her, go for it! AllStar I think is safer--as @Mamarazzi said, the combination of certified coaches and spring floors just makes for a safer environment. I think with rec a lot of times you end up with teenagers and moms as coaches (not that there is anything wrong with teenagers and moms, just that they're not always safety trained).

Is cheerleading dangerous? Short answer...yes. But with the right gym, the right coaches, and the right attitude it can be done safely. Every year the USASF makes more rules geared towards keeping our children safe. But I don't think a Tiny team is dangerous - I think you're safe from bumps on the head for a few years. :)

As for how to get started, go visit a few gyms in your area and ask them all the questions you asked us. Their answers and the way they treat you will give you a good idea if you want to go there. The key is finding a gym that "fits" your child, not just what gym everyone tells you is "the best".

I wish wish wish I'd started my kids younger. Cheer has meant everything to them - they've not just learned athleticism and teamwork, but they've made lifelong friendships, gained self esteem....I could go on and on. (Side note, Mommy has also made lifelong friends in the other moms)

AND I wish I had discovered Fierce Board earlier - so you're already ahead of the game. I've learned more on here than in the gym! (and again with the friendships)

Good luck to you and your daughter!
I agree with @ufomom find an all star gym that has a good preschool tumbling program. Wait to pay the all star expenses until she is a little older. OR if they have a "for fun" tiny team that just expos at comps, that would be fun and less costly. Most gyms I have seen want the child to at least be potty trained, some even want to wait until they are 3.
If they wont take her at the gym you are looking at that young, you could always look to see if there is a gymnastics training facility local to you that has a toddler program. I personally think that an early gymnastics background really helped my little one out and gave her an advantage when she started cheering. Gymnastics is a little slower t0o make progress, but they definitely perfect those basic skills like cartwheels and backwalkovers. My opinion is that good fundamentals help keep you safe in any sport.
Honestly I think 2 is too young to have a child do any type of an organized class/sport that the parent is not participating in also. Around 3 or 4 I personally would put her in a toddler tumble class or dance class. Most gyms do not allow 2 year old on their tiny team unless they also have a tiny exhibition which only go to local comps.
My suggestion is to put her in either gymnastics or dance if a cheer team says she is "too young." Both will help with cheerleading later on if she chooses to join a team. Dance won't help with the tumbling aspect, but it will help with learning body control and choreography. Gymnastics has obvious benefits for a future cheerleader. Good luck!
I firmly believe that your child will be a better cheerleader, have better technique, etc if you start her in gymnastics. Let her build a strong foundation before thrusting her into all star cheerleading where there's such tremendous focus & pressure to gain new skills as quickly as possible, often to the detriment of the child. Having spent 10 years in gymnastics and 6 years in all star cheer, I'd keep her in gymnastics a minimum of 5 years, probably longer. That's just my opinion.
my cp started on a show team when she was 4. the kids were aged 3-7. my cp really really wanted to cheer. i mean, she was obsessed then and she still is. so she went and she learned her routine and she listened and she practiced. the majority of the girls, giggled, sat, rolled around on the floor, ran off the mat, got into things they shouldn't, etc....LOL. it's what kids that age do. not many are ready to focus, learn and cooperate.
so, my opinion is to not put a child in something that costs, literally, thousands of dollars until they want it and are serious about it and are able to do it.
you can always start off with one of those little cheer babies classes where they teach some basic tumbling, jumps and motions and see how it goes.
i think you need to get her into a gymnastics type class first. See how she does with the basics like listening, taking turns, being respectful to the others in the class. These are all lessons that are just as important at her age and learning any actual cheer skills. This will allow her to learn those things in an environment that isn't so team based. The hard thing with tiny age athletes is that in the end- it is a team sport and they HAVE to be able to be counted on to do what they are supposed to. If you ever watch Tiny teams- stunting is always an amazing thing to see. That's a lot of responsibility for those little ones. make sure she's ready for that :)
OK, I re-read your original post and I see that she just turned 2, which seems too young to me for an organized team sport. So I'm inclined to say I agree - find a toddler tumbling class. If you have time, one that is mother - daughter may even be better. And the gymnastics background will help tremendously with cheer.
I believe there was a two-year-old on one of our tiny teams.

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