Learning to skate
If your children want to learn to skate, here are some tips on how you can help them.
- Choose places that are not too busy or go skating when there are fewer people.
- Dress your children in comfortable clothes that will not hinder their movements and in which they will not feel too hot or too cold.
- Children who are just learning to skate should wear a helmet. If your children already have knee and elbow pads for rollerblading, they could use them the first few times they go skating.
- Teach them the correct skating position. For instance, they must:
- slightly bend their knees (by lowering the centre of gravity, this position keeps them steady on their feet)
- keep their arms on by their sides or extend them slightly forward so that they can achieve better balance and protect themselves if they fall
- They must gradually learn to push off in a diagonal direction and to transfer their weight from one leg to the other.
- When trying on skates, only one pair of socks is necessary. The same applies when you go skating: wear only one pair of warm socks.
- Stand in front of your child and hold him or her by the hands because he or she should be facing you. He or she should be able to lean on an object: a traffic cone (make sure it is relatively soft) or a support such as Wee Play Early Skater Learning Aid (about $35), which would be ideal. Learning to skate is like learning to walk. If the child always pushes off with the same leg, encourage him or her to practise with the other leg as well.
- Remember to help your child feel secure. While it is true that the ice is slippery and that it hurts to fall on it, if the child feels confident, he or she will learn more easily and be proud of his or her accomplishments.
- Make games a part of the “lessons” (see the game section on the Web site) since this will make learning more appealing and especially more enjoyable. Remember that play is an important part of child development.
- Teaching children to skate is a gift that will last them a lifetime. In addition, skating is a relatively inexpensive, accessible and highly enjoyable family activity.
- Do your children love skating? Would they like to be able to skate faster, improve their ability to turn and stop, demonstrate their skating prowess, have fun and make more friends? Get in touch with your local figure skating club, speed skating club or hockey association. You will surely find a program that meets your child’s needs.
The love of skating is contagious. Invite other families to join you. Happy skating!
Provincial representative of figure skating coaches
Fédération de patinage artistique du Québec
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