“How was your day?”
“I don’t remember.”
If that conversation sounds familiar, I bet you’re a parent with school aged children. We get thousands of parents through our doors each week at The Little Gym, and it’s a familiar tale!
Our children come out of school, and we’re desperate to hear about their day. What did they do? Who did they play with? Did anything exciting happen? Tell me… just please tell me … I NEED TO KNOW!
Some children bounce out of school and they’re a waterfall of gossip, experiences, struggles and fun. But many seem to remember nothing at the end of the day, and all parents get is ‘I don’t remember’, ‘Nothing’, or the dreaded ‘Fine’.
We sometimes forget that their little brains are busy processing hundreds, if not thousands, of new experiences every day. And that can take a lot of energy, making them tired and hungry at the exact time we want to hear about their day.
It can also lead to pent-up energy, and they can need some space to get that out of their systems too – we get a lot of parents ask us to help with that challenge at The Little Gym!
So how do we open the channel of communication in a way that encourages our little ones to share, without pressuring them with our thirst for information?
Here are seven simple tricks from The Little Gym Windsor that might help you get some fabulous school stories out of your little one this month:
Greet them with the biggest smile you can muster. Let them know that you’re over the moon to see them. Greet them with a big smile. Give them an enormous hug. Swing them around if they’re little. Try doing this before you ask about their day.
Keep questions small. Questions like “How was your day?” are too broad – you’ll just get “Fine”. Cue frustrated parent and un-engaged child. Narrow your questions, and make them specific. “What made you laugh today?” “What games did you play?”
Give them time to unwind. They’ve had a busy day. Listening to teachers. Running around. Making their brain work in ways it may never have before. It takes a lot of energy! Give them food, and let them process the day, unwind, and recoup their energy.
Tell them a funny story. Did something funny happen to you today? Did toilet paper get stuck to your shoe? Did someone sneeze like an elephant on the train? Tell them! Making children laugh is a great way to open a line of communication.
Learn about your child’s life at school. If you know they’re doing PE on Wednesday, or their teacher reads stories each Thursday, you’ll have an instant connection with their day. “What story did Mrs Feeney read, was it about aliens?” “Noooo… silly…. It was about a kangaroo!”
Listen. Give your little one space to talk at their own pace, and in their own way. Try not to jump in – as strong as the urge sometimes is. Let the talk emerge and flow naturally. They will want to talk more!
Make special time. If you can sit down and snuggle, they’ll love the intimacy and often be more inclined to share. This could be a special 10 minutes after they’ve had a snack, or it could be just after bath time. Whatever time works for your family. But if you can find that 10 minutes, there the magic might lie to learning all about their day, laughs, likes, and worries.
We are excited to announce that The Little Gym Windsor will open on 22nd November, 2017.
Our first semester will run from 22nd November 2017 to 18 February 2018. That’s 11 weeks of fun gymnastics classes with a difference -- developing your child’s body, brain, and social and emotional skills.
All of our classes have been developed with an age-appropriate curriculum designed to nurture growth at each stage of childhood development. Children from the age of 10-months to 12-years come to us for a class a week, sometimes more, and we focus on developing the whole child.
We get them moving, learning gymnastics, and developing their motor skills, balance and coordination. The bonus… we also build their confidence, courage, resilience, focus, concentration, listening skills, friendship skills, team work, and so much more -- skills designed to help them succeed in whatever comes their way.
Importantly, we are non-competitive and 100% inclusive. It doesn’t matter if your child is great at sport, or still finding their moving mojo. We pride ourselves on being totally inclusive. Our teachers get to know what success means to every child in our small classes. And we keep every child challenged at the right level for them as individuals – whether they’re mastering a back flip or somersault, or learning their first forward roll or cartwheel.
This all sounds very serious. But only Mum, Dad and our teachers know how serious it is. The kids are just having a blast running, rolling, swinging, flipping and spinning around the gym with our fun-filled teachers. Children learn best when they’re challenged and having fun!
Come and try us out. Let us put an invisible cloak of confidence on your child. We’ll put it on in the gym, tie it up, and encourage them to leave wearing it. They’ll wear it home, to the park, day care, pre-school, school, and everywhere they go. And when they come back the next week, we’ll adjust it, tighten the straps, and put it back on if it has fallen off – sending them off into the world each week with renewed confidence, courage, and self-esteem. And an irresistible big super hero grin on their face!
We’re thrilled to be transforming the old Chicago’s Nightclub into an oasis for children and families right in the heart of Windsor. There will still be dancing feet, they’ll just be a lot smaller – and they’ll be flying through the air, not just dancing on the ground!
The Little Gym Windsor will be big, colourful, warm and welcoming. We’re turning nearly 5,000 square feet into a big gymnastics and child development facility with plenty of space for children to run, jump, roll, swing, tumble and flip. Your child will get moving, go on exciting adventures, tap into their imagination, and build their bodies, confidence and courage on our state-of-the-art gymnastics equipment. They’ll swing around the uneven bars, balance on the beam, flying across our vault, and tumbling across our floor.
We’re definitely NOT forgetting the parents – you guys are important too! As Mums, we know how hard parents work – there is always something to juggle, organise, manage or consider! We want The Little Gym Windsor to be a rewarding experience for you too, an opportunity for down-time, socialising, and a bit of parental pride as a bonus!
Our spacious lobby is designed with families in mind. We have everything parents and children need to be comfortable – from bright sofas to tables and chairs, a fully kitted-out kitchen, play area for siblings, and even a break out area for Mums and Dads groups.
Parents can watch their children doing gymnastics through our beautiful glass wall, you can have a chat with your friends over a cup of coffee, fall asleep on the sofa (it happens, just ask my husband!), work, duck out to the shops or work out around the corner in the gym for an hour!
The world is your oyster as a parent in the oasis we are creating for children and parents on William Street.
We are so excited to be transforming the old Chicago’s into The Little Gym Windsor. Our builders are going in next week, and we want to let you see the transformation with your very own eyes.
Follow us on Facebook to see The Little Gym Windsor transform from bare concrete into our bright, welcoming and colourful home in William Street!
We have four children between our two families and they all went to The Little Gym. Not long after they started, we saw big changes that really impacted our two families… and we want to tell you one of our personal stories.
Our four children are all different. The biggest contrast is between our sons. My son is incredibly shy, and Andi’s son naturally brims with confidence. One of the things we noticed immediately was how quickly the The Little Gym got to know, and celebrate, our boys as individuals.
Andi’s son ran into class by himself and didn’t look back. And the teachers understood him straight away. They nurtured his wonderful confidence, channelled his energy, and developed his listening skills, focus and concentration. The teachers gave him challenges and adventures he thrived on, and he just blossomed in the classes.
My little boy blossomed in a different way. Naturally shy, he found it impossible to go into his first class by himself at three years old. He hid behind my skirt, and held onto me with a vice-like grip. He did this at any activity I took him to – we just couldn’t find a place where he would settle.
The difference at The Little Gym was the teachers. They immediately understood and genuinely cared about our situation. I was welcomed into the class -- the 5-foot-8 Mummy sitting with all the four-year olds – and neither my son nor I felt exposed or singled out. We just felt supported, like the teachers and I were a team helping my son to grow and develop.
For six weeks, the teachers worked with my son and I to build his confidence and courage to go into the class by himself. They developed a system of hand signals that he could use to get reassurance from me – our ‘thumbs up’ system – and I was gradually able to leave the room.
It was amazing. Suddenly, my impossibly shy little boy developed the confidence to go into an activity by himself! And he carried that confidence from The Little Gym into the rest of his life – now, he would happily go into a couple of other activities too – as long as we used The Little Gym ‘thumbs up’!!
Being embraced for who we were, and truly feeling like we were valued and important – was an incredible feeling. The teacher’s understanding of his needs, and our needs, during that transition in his development was incredible and they earned our love for it.
Thanks to their patience and support, I now had a happy little boy that couldn’t wait to go back every week, and who had the courage to try other news things as well. A whole new world opened for him.
Andi and I decided that we wanted to make this difference to parents and children too, nurturing families in our own The Little Gym.
In our gym, we want every child at every age to feel loved and valued, boosting their self-esteem and confidence individually. We want to build their bodies, their brains, and their social and emotional skills, helping to build a foundation of skills that will last a life time.
And we want them to have FUN – that’s when they learn best! Throwing on an imaginary cape and feeling their feet fly as they master their first forward roll, cartwheel, somersault or flip. We want them to float on a happy, confident cloud every single time they leave the gym, taking that imaginary cloak of confidence with them to day care, school, home, the park… everywhere!
Check out the schedule here!
Thanks for letting us share one of our stories. We can’t wait to welcome your family to The Little Gym Windsor, and we hope to see your child's eyes sparkling with fun and confidence in our gym this November!