Shawn Johnson East has the perfect perspective on little kids and sports—and we’re here for it


Shawn Johnson East says the transition from two kids to three—she and husband Andrew East welcomed their third baby three months ago—wasn’t as seamless as she was hoping it would be, thanks to a brief bout of colic (IYKYK, it can be brutal), the family is finding their rhythm again.

“Three kids is a lot,” Johnson East says about life as a mom of three. “But the baby is the sweetest, most amazing little man ever. And our kids are obsessed with him.”

If you follow her on Instagram, you already know that Johnson East and her family have the whole social media thing down. They’re fun, funny, relatable, and the kids aren’t pressured to perform or do anything they may not want to do. And she and her husband are clearly just having a blast together. Their family comes across as genuine and enjoyable to her audience.

Speaking of kids and the immense pressure that many kids face when it comes to things like sports in particular, Johnson East doesn’t feel compelled to push her own children into anything. Despite being one of the best athletes of her generation and a four-time Olympic medalist married to a retired NFL star, she and her husband are all about letting their kids decide what they like—she doesn’t care whether gymnastics abilities come naturally to her kids or not.

“You know, it’s funny. I can’t even tell if it comes naturally because I don’t really care,” she explains. “I just care about, like, their little interests and stuff. They’re very physical. Like very, very physical.”

She says her two oldest kiddos, Drew Hazel, 4, and Jett James, 2, enjoy recreational gymnastics—but they’re not into competing. Which is just fine with Johnson East.

“I think it teaches kids such amazing body awareness and coordination and facing fears and going upside down,” she says. “It’s just like it’s really good. And so they both do like little classes here and there at a place here in Nashville that I trust and love.”

After coaching competitive gymnastics for a long time, she says it opened her eyes to how different sports can affect different kids.

“You can have the most talented athlete in the entire world, and they just might not like the sport, and that’s fine,” she says. “And you might have a kid who’s not talented in a sport but loves it. And then if you throw into parents who are pressuring their kids into the equation, it never works out. I’ve just I’ve never seen it work out.”

Trying to navigate the logistics of three kids under five is overwhelming for anyone, which is why Johnson East has partnered with MorningStar Farms. She says her kids in particular are absolutely crazy about many of the vegan options the brand has to offer. In April, the brand is bringing back fan-favorite MorningStar Farms Riblets.

“When they came to me with this campaign, I kind of jumped on it—just because they’re in our freezer already,” she explains. “And even though we’re not a vegan family, the ingredients are great. It’s an easy way to get kids to eat protein, and I’m super excited that they’re bringing back the riblets.”

As for summer plans, Johnson East tells PEOPLE she and her husband are taking the three kids to the Olympics this year!

“It’s something that we’ve had on our bucket list and now that we have all of our babies with us, we’re really excited to do it.”





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