A must-read for all Pegasus parents who are new to gymnastics competitions and travel.
A special thank you to Tracey Anderson for sharing her wisdom and knowledge with all of us!
Here are some of the things I have learned as a gym mom and team manager.
Most importantly, your child is ready for this. If you are excited for them and confident, they will be too. Conversely, if you are nervous and not sure they can handle it they will pick up on that too.
Here are some tips I have learned along the way.
Before you go
Don’t let this be the first time away from you, arrange sleepovers with other kids from gym.
Practice living out of suitcase for a weekend. Work out a system with them for keeping their stuff organized. With four girls in a room, they have to keep their stuff together.
Go out for dinner and show them how to look for healthy options on the menu, narrow it down to a few things they like so they know what to ask for if they don’t see it on the menu. let them order themselves. Show them how to figure out tip and let them pay themselves. Go to Subway and have them do all their ordering and paying themselves.
Talk about handling homesickness and how they will cope.
If they are nervous about doing their hair have them practice with an older girl at the gym after training one night. The older girls will make sure they are ready before competition.
If you want to send a pre-paid visa or debit card make sure they know how to use it. Practice with it before they go. Only the pre-paid Visa cards with the raised numbers work everywhere. Make sure the debit card has the visa symbol on it if they are in the US. They do need some cash as well. Often one person will go and pick up food for a group of them.
A small rolling carry on size suitcase is all they need.
Make sure they have their suit , track jacket, music and grips in their carry on.
Pack cards, small games, movies, rainbow loom etc to keep busy in the hotel room
Pack LOTS of snacks, divide between a couple of ziplock so they don’t run out the first day. Make sure they have snacks in their backpack as well as they will be at the venue watching the other girls compete for most of the day.
ZIPLOCS are the best way to keep their suitcase organized. They don’t need lots of clothes as they will wear their track jacket every day.
Make sure they have warm waterproof boots for Montreal. It is often slushy and they walk from the metro to the venue every day. Ugg type boots get wet through. Rubber boots with warm socks are a better choice if that is what your daughter has.
Pack a special stuffy or blanket for sleeping. Even the big girls have their special things
A small cross-body purse is a convenient way for them to keep their money close and organized. Make sure they have some small bills and change as well. Give them enough for a couple of days and give the rest to the coach in SM Ziploc with their name on it. $40 / day is a rough estimate for food.
While they are gone
They will be fine !!!!
They can always text or face time with you when they are in the hotel room. If they don’t have an iPod or a phone don’t worry. They can use one of the older girls. If you want to give your number to an older girl to pass on messages to your child just make arrangements after training before you go.
It is better to text or talk early in the day, sometimes a happy kid becomes teary when tired and talking to mom at bedtime.
It is important for the girls to cheer on their teammates as a team. You can say hi to your child at the venue but encourage them to stay with their team. This is an important team bonding time for them.
Give them space, they are ready for this and if they are really struggling they need to let their coach know. They are looking to you for reassurance that they can handle this.
When you see your child at the airport when you pick them up they will have so much to tell you, team travel is a great opportunity for them to grow and develop confidence.