Achieving optimum wellness means pursuing a healthy lifestyle through practices that promote fitness in all aspects. This means that, aside from following a nutritious diet, your child must also be given a chance to participate in physical activities, like sports.
Ice skating can give your child this and more. In fact, this sport has been lauded as a great way to improve a child’s balance and coordination, boost endurance, enhance joint health, and, ultimately, promote better physical well-being. It is also considered a great way to build self-esteem.
Before your little one gets to reap the benefits of ice skating, you must first get him onto the ice. To do this, it’s best to understand how to determine readiness and how you can go about introducing the activity.
How to Know When Your Child Is Ready
Like with crawling and walking, children develop at their own pace and there’s no single formula to determine at what age a child will be ready to partake in ice skating training. Many experts agree that ice skating training can begin as soon as a child can walk, but often parents find that between ages two and three, their child is more open to the experience. Here, they can already start treading the ice and following simple instructions. However, this varies from one child to another.
Ice skating also requires coordination, agility, flexibility and speedy footwork, which develop differently in children and will eventually allow them to skate to a rhythm.
5 Tips to Get Your Child Started in Ice Skating
If you think your child can learn the skills mentioned above, then it’s time you start thinking about getting him into the sport. To help you out, here are five tips every parent should know about before releasing their children onto the ice:
1. Get the Right Skates
Having the proper equipment is essential when starting to ice skate, especially for children. Although it may be tempting to assist your child at the beginning with double-bladed skates, it is not the ideal way to learn as the double blades may prevent him from learning how to balance.
Be sure to choose a pair that fits properly, which may be as much as two sizes bigger than your child’s actual shoe size as skates tend to run small. You can also opt for footwear with adjustable straps, which also have soft inner booties that offer added comfort during practice.
2. Never Forgo the Proper Attire
Aside from the skates, ensure your young one wears the right attire during practice. While you do not need to go as extreme as dressing him in a snowsuit, remember that quite young children tend to crawl on the ice a lot. Dress warmly for the rink and don’t forget waterproof mitts to protect his hands.
Helmets are also important to keep your child safe. A helmet should fit snugly and comfortably. Elbow and knee pads add further protection for skaters still finding their balance.
3. Teach Them How to Fall
Falling is something all skaters learn at the beginning, which is why trainers teach them how to fall “properly.” It is important that this is done safely to ensure they are not injured and to motivate them to continue in the sport. Children should be shown how to break their fall by slowly collapsing down to their bums without flailing. Falling forward is also important to avoid.
4. Have them Learn the Basics
Teaching children the basics of ice skating means letting them march from point A to point B, one small step at a time. This will help them learn how to transfer their weight from one leg to the other.
Also, remember that this can be a frustrating task for them, so make sure to put your best effort into being supportive. Get creative in motivating them and be sure to reward their hard work afterward.
Other early skills include gliding, jumping, hopping, skipping, turning, spinning, and stopping.
5. Engage Them in Activities to Learn the Proper Skating Skills
Aside from actually being on the ice, aspiring figure skaters learn the basics of the sport by participating in simple activities such as hopscotch, jump rope, and other childhood games that promote balance and flexibility. Playing tag also helps them learn how to change directions swiftly, for example.
Final Advice for Parents
Convincing your child to participate in sports is one way you can keep him fit and strong. Aside from enrolling your child in ice skating lessons, you should also be supportive and open about his opinion and concerns about engaging in the sport. This will help you determine whether he truly is ready to tread the ice.
Possessing more than two decades of experience in the leisure and hospitality industry, Tony Kouris joined Zayed Sports City as General Manager in January 2018. With extensive career experience, a value on interpersonal relationships, and strong negotiating experience, he is positioned to support Zayed Sports City’s strategic growth and continue to innovate the site as an internationally recognised sport and entertainment destination.