by Joy Adamonis
While ice-skating is a wonderful activity that can be enjoyed all year round (in an indoor rink of course), most people find ice-skating synonymous with the colder months. So, as the colder months approach this is a great time to introduce your little ones to all the fun that can be had on skates! Follow these five steps to help make the introduction a successful and enjoyable one!
1. Find A Beginner Friendly Rink
A beginner friendly rink is perfect for introducing anyone to ice-skating because they usually provide walkers and/or crates for children to lean on. While you don’t want them to become dependent on the help of the walker/crate, it is a great starting point to help them feel more confident when they get on the ice for the first time. Also, if there are other beginners on the ice, your child might not feel as if they are alone in learning this new skill.
2. Dress Warmly
First and foremost, a helmet is very important ice skating attire. A bike helmet will do just fine, as long as it still fits from last season. Dressing in layers is always a great idea. Gloves, not mittens tend to be the #1 choice for keeping their fingers warm. Try and stay away from snow pants as they can become slippery when wet. Fleece pants or sweatpants work perfectly to keep them warm and dry. If you purchase new skates, make sure to get them sharpened and have your little ones try them on first. Rental skates are constantly being sharpened there is no need to ask.
3. Teach Your Kids To Fall Correctly
Once your child has their balance on the ice, teaching them to fall correctly should come before any tricks. Kids and beginners of all ages will fall many times. Knowing how to fall appropriately can help them from hurting themselves. Have them bend their knees, lean to one side and gently go down. To properly get back up, have them kneel on both knees with their back straight. Tell them to bring one skate to the ice and push onto that leg, then bring the other skate onto the ice. Slowly have them stand up keeping their back straight the whole time.
4. Teach Your Kids To Stop Correctly
Once your child has a good rhythm on the ice, they will need to come to a stop –eventually! This is an important technique to learn because with increased speed and overall ice safety, the need to stop becomes apparent. Have your child stand with their toes touching and make an inverted V-shape with their feet. Once they have that posture, they will then need to push through the inside of the blade to create movement on the ice. Point out the ice shavings on the top layer of the rink, this means they are successfully completing what is called a snow plow.
5. Practice The Art Of Patience
All kids are different and reach milestones at different times than their peers. Ice-skating is no exception. While some kids might “get it” the minute they step on the ice, for others it might take a little while. Positive feedback is key! Focus on what they are doing great and use positive words to describe them on the ice. Encourage the progress that is being made rather than what else they need to work on. Be patient with them and they will be patient with themselves. Another helpful tip is to limit the practice to less than 30 minutes to avoid exhaustion.
Use these steps to keep your child gliding happily all season long.
Joy Adamonis is a local freelance writer and blogger. She is a devoted mom and wife who enjoys living an active lifestyle. Running has transformed her life and helped maintain her 75-pound weight-loss. She advocates for positive body image, mental illness awareness and better education. Read more from Joy at www.mysensationalkid.com