Has your tween been shouting out cheers or watching a large number of cheerleading shows or movies? He or she may be interested in becoming a cheerleader. Perhaps it's even been expressed to you. Is cheerleading appropriate for tweens? Should you let your tween join a cheerleader squad? On top of deciding whether your tween wants to cheer on sports teams, participate in cheerleading competitions, or do non-competitive cheering, there are many other factors to consider.
Why does your tween want to be a cheerleader? It's important to allow kids the freedom to express their interests. But before giving an affirmative answer, be sure your tween's head is in the right place. Does your son or daughter want to be on the squad for the activity or athleticism or is it seen as a way to attract the opposite sex? It's natural for kids to develop interest for the opposite sex at this age. However, that should not be the only reason your tween is interested in becoming a cheerleader. Talk to your tween and figure out all of the reasons he or she is interested in becoming a cheerleader. Be sure it is really what they want to do before they make the commitment.
Can you afford or raise the associated costs? This kind of activity can really put a dent in the wallet. There are tryouts, uniforms, classes, road trips, and more that all require fees. Before getting your tween involved, be sure that you can pay the associated fees. If you cannot pay them, there may be fund raising or sponsorship opportunities. Either way, be sure these costs will be covered. Otherwise, you will potentially be setting your tween up for disappoint later when something comes along that you cannot pay for.
Cheerleading is a big commitment. Does your tween know what's involved in being a member of the squad? Some responsibilities will vary, depending on the type of cheerleading squad your tween wants to join. However, they will all involve committing to certain practice dates and doing extra practice at home. Some may involve traveling and taking extra classes for cheer routines, dance, and gymnastics. There is more to being a cheerleader than just rooting on a team. It is a very athletic activity that can get very involved. Is your tween ready for this type of commitment?
Does your tween have the talent or the dedication to learn? Existing talent is a real plus when it comes to cheerleading. However, your tween can also take classes and practice to learn and grow in the sport. Make sure he or she is ready to do what it takes to succeed. If your tween does not want to compete but enjoys the activity, many locales have non-competitive cheerleader squads as well. Your tween will still need to be committed to the team. However, there won;t be as much pressure to outperform another team.
Can you provide the transportation? This may seem a small factor in the grand scheme of things. However, depending on the type of cheerleading, practices, games, and events can be in various places. Are you willing to get your tween to these meetings and events, even when they are far away? If you know that you cannot do this, for whatever reason, you will need to find alternate transportation or work with your tween to find an alternative activity.
Most parents want to give their child freedom to explore the things they are interested in. But in addition to bringing a smile to their faces, we also have to think practically as well. When deciding whether your tween should join a cheerleader squad, weigh all of the factors together before making the commitment.
*Always consult a licensed physician before enrolling your child in any athletic activity.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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