Saturday 15 June 2013

Sunday Parenting Party - Our experiences with rugby classes

Taming the Goblin

Its time for the Sunday Parenting Party. Please link up your parenting posts and check out what others have linked up. Please don't link Kids activity posts, they can be linked to Kids Coop. This week I am linking the following:
(Goblin is 44 months)

Goblin has been going to a rugby class since January. He doesn't normally handle classes well. Following other people's structures and rules doesn't sit comfortably with him. In music classes he has exhibited his displeasure by either running around the room while others sat and followed the teachers instructions, or he has cowered in a corner. But we figured playing on the things he does love - being outside and running around - would help him acclimatise to the rugby class. 

It didn't.

We are now in the second term of the class and Goblin is the only child who still refuses to run the length of the pitch unless I am with him. This 'classroom' behaviour is completely out of character. In a wood or at the zoo Goblin would be the child disappearing round the corner with out a care. I would be the parent jogging to keep up or frantically screaming at him to wait. But at rugby it's different. The parents all line up on the touch line watching their kids.  Except for me. I am the one running along the side of the pitch to encourage my child to participate. If I go and stand on the touch line Goblin simply walks off. He goes and hides behind the shed, or wanders to the far end of the field or sits in a corner and eats grass. Yes he eats grass - because the other parents don't think we are strange enough already!!! 

I had started to fret about his inability to join in and follow basic instructions. In fact Hublet and I had started to get quite cross with him - firstly because we started to feel it was a waste of money, but also because we were starting to get a bit embarrassed. But we discussed why we were sending him to classes. We knew he didn't really like that format of class based activities but we wanted him to experience that type of structure and get used to having to interact with kids on terms that weren't his own. At the same time we wanted him to have fun. So we started to approach the classes in a more relaxed way and not get too stressed out when Goblin chose to sit on the side lines. And we started to notice that while I was the only parent consistently having to run alongside my child, Goblin certainly wasn't the only child opting out of certain parts of the class, bursting into tears, and having mini meltdowns (it had just felt that way when all our focus was on our child). 

I also started to notice when Goblin was feeling uncomfortable. It tended to be when he had to do something with all the children in one big group. That's when he started to just give up. I think he doesn't like the pressure. The coach noticed it to and now when Goblin is looking like he won't join in, the coach will call him over and get him to help with what ever he is doing - often chasing down the other kids, which Goblin much prefers to being chased. 

In a few short weeks Goblin has gained some confidence and although he still spends a lot of the class sitting out the activities, he has decided he does like the running races (i don't think he realises they are a race). And he will run them without me. In fact he now tells me off if I start running with him. A mini breakthrough. 

And now to the linky
I'm linking this to
I Can Teach My ChildTeach Beside MeCountry Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


  1. That's great that the coach is helping him feel comfortable like that. And well done for refocusing on what you are hoping he might get out of it, and him enjoying it :-) Hope what I've linked is ok, feel free to delete if it isn't

  2. Some children just take longer than others, comparing them against other children seems to be a parental fault we all have. Life is so much easier if we just accept them as they are and go with the flow. The coach seems like he has the right idea and I'm sure Goblin will continue to grow in confidence there and enjoy himself. Thanks for coming over and sharing with Country Kids.

  3. A thoroughly honest post, as usual & I bet all parents feel that their child is the only one behaving a certain way when they are focused on them without realising every child will be exhibiting different types of behaviour in various situations. As someone who never, ever enjoyed classes or groups of any kind as a child I can totally get where Goblin is coming from!! Thanks for joining in again.

  4. It's definitely true that preschoolers often need to participate in sports on their own terms. It sounds like the coach is doing a great job of encouraging that. Good luck!

  5. Somehow they all seem to get there in the end don't they? Just usually in their time rather than ours!

  6. My wee man is doing a rugby tots class and I am one of the few parents that has to help my wee man through it so it is great reading this post. He finds doing things with big groups of children that he does not know very well difficult as he is fine with his nursery class but he has known them all since being only 9 months. For him I don't think it is so much following the rules as being overwhelmed by others. Sometimes when the park is busy he struggles to find his place on the equipment and ends up sometimes staring and watching yet I know he loves all the activities. I get nervous that sometimes he is too much of a loner but if it is with a child he knows well he is fine so I am hoping that he is just shy and needs support to make friends. I hope that Goblin continues to enjoy the classes. Rugby is a great sport :)

  7. I put Aarya in a Gymnastic class thinking that will help him burn some of his excess energy. When we got there he was happy, but the minute he understood that there was going to be a instructor who is going to TEACH, he started crying, screaming - he did not want to go too. The fact remains he enjoys it, but there is something that is holding him back. **sigh** We are still working on it and it is nice to know that we are not alone.


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