Three years old seems to be the time to put your child in some sort of organized activity. For a while, we thought Cara would like ballet, and our church has soccer teams for kids her age, but after Cara went to a few birthday parties at the gymnastics gym near our house, we were sold. The icing on the cake was that they offer a class on Saturday mornings...perfect.
This gym has stadium seating for helicopter parents, so we figured we would watch Cara's first class to get an idea of gym parent etiquette. I wasn't even sure if we were supposed to stay; I have heard that some classes discourage this or don't even have a place for parents to sit and watch. It quickly became obvious that we made the right decision.
We have never considered Cara a shy child. She is usually pretty friendly and spunky, but I guess this put her way out of her comfort zone because it took her 15 or 20 minutes to warm up to the idea of joining her class. She ran back to us a few times, and I told her that it would be fine if she just wanted to watch this time. No pressure, kiddo. She gave it her best shot, but when I saw her sitting there trying desperately not to cry, I had to go get her. We took a minute to get her "happy attitude" on, and then she wanted to try again. I'm happy to report that she really enjoyed the rest of her class once she got over the nerves.
(no leotard yet...the ones at the gym are PRICEY; I've found some very cute, reasonable options on Etsy though!)