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Ice skating is an adventurous sport. It’s essentially an extension of one’s being. The feeling of the cold air brushing past their faces is a feeling worth remembering and children love it when they’re able to ice skate like a pro. It’s also a great fitness routine for children who want to get healthier and trains hand-eye coordination too. If your kids are curious about the ice skating rink they see on TVs, then it’s time to grab a pair of skating boots and start gliding down that ice.
But wait! Before you do that, make sure you know what you’re doing. We’ll discuss some of the benefits of ice skating and how to go about how to teach kids to ice skate.
What Is the Right Age for Kids to Start Ice Skating?
If you’re wondering; “How old to start ice skating?” The answer is – it’s never too late!
Some kids start as young as 3 years old but most kids who learn how to ice skate are between the ages of 5 and 10. Older kids are better able to grasp the complex motions of figure skating and have the hand-eye coordination to skate well.
Benefits of Ice Skating for Your Child
Ice skating for children isn’t just about fun and games. It’s a sport that requires focus, dedication and discipline. It’s also a lot of adventure when they get their feet gliding down the rink. You’ll know what we mean soon. But for now, if you’re wondering about what benefits it brings to the table, we have good news for you. The answer is – a lot.
Here are some of the many benefits of ice skating for kids:
1. It Gets Them Focused
When you’re up and about on the ice skating rink, there is no room for error. If your kids don’t focus they risk falling down and injuring themselves. Ice skating is a thrill of its own and since kids want to experience the enjoyment, they’re more willing to put the time in to learn. Kids get focused and it’s kind of like meditation in the way it boosts mental clarity.
2. It Boosts Leg Strength
Kids have to push their foot down on the ice and press their weight from one leg to the next. It’s a good leg workout and improves upon their strength. Besides strength gains, ice skating is fantastic for toning the legs and working on joint mobility.
3. It Teaches Them How to Fail
Ice skating is an activity where your child will fall down a million times before getting the hang of balancing and moving on their feet through the rink. The constant falling down along with getting up will teach them the meaning of perseverance. This will transfer into their daily life and they’ll grow more confident.
4. A Good Outdoor Workout
Ice skating is great for the winters and good for warming up the joints. Your children will look forward to the season and enjoy getting a good workout outdoors. It’s a terrific way to get fit fast.
5. Improves Mental Health
Spending time learning a new skill such as ice skating and gliding through the rink. It makes children feel happy. The time they invest in learning the sport will pay dividends and add joy to their lives. Ice skating feels like being free on the ice, literally.
6. Encourages Kids to Become Athletic
Ice skating teaches kids how to be athletic. Once your kids master the basic manoeuvres and drills, they can get creative on the rink and learn how to spin, dance, and spiral around the rink. If your child attends school at a location where it snows, they can participate in ice skating competitions or events as they grow older. It opens an avenue to new opportunities while improving their health.
7. It Teaches them How to Learn
Learning anything new requires having an open mindset, being willing to fail and trying again. Ice skating teaches kids how to stay patient and committed to the process.
8. Works on Hand-eye Coordination
Different ice skating moves challenge your kids to coordinate different motions and movements. This works on their hand-eye coordination which is an important skill in learning, in general.
9. It Improves Their Self-Esteem
Once kids learn how to ice skate, it boosts their self-esteem. They can ice skate with their friends and show off what they learn in the rink. This sense of freedom is really valuable in the long run.
10. It Improves Blood Flow
When your kids are getting enough exercises, it gives a boost to their blood circulation. Ice skating is good for cardiovascular health and makes bodies healthier overall.
Teaching Your Child to Ice Skate – A Guide for Beginners
1. Make Sure the Skates Fit Snuggly
When you’re first buying a pair of ice skates, you want to make sure they fit snug. The skates should be comfortable but not too big or loose. If you’re able to slide a finger down the back of the heels, it’s too big. The laces should be tied well and not frayed.
2. It’s How They Balance
Proper form is key to skating well on the rink. For the kids, we recommend standing straight with the arms on the sides. The arms should make a T-shape because it ensures a good centre of balance.
3. Learn With Them
If your child wants to learn ice skating but you don’t know how to teach them, sign up for classes together. Kids are more likely to keep ice skating when their parents join in on the fun too!
4. Don’t Push Them
If you love ice skating but notice your kids don’t enjoy it as much as you do, don’t push them. It’s okay to prefer another sport and not ice skate. You can try asking them a few times to see if they’re still curious but being pushy will only steer them away.
5. Learn How to Glide
Learning how to glide is one of the first moves beginner ice skaters learn. The way you do this is by first marching on ice with your feet. Once your kids master this, ask them to try to stand still and not make noises when marching. This transitions into a glide naturally.
6. Watch the Clothing
What your kids wear to the rink is just as important as the gear they use itself. Tight jeans restrict movement and we recommend wearing layers of light but warm clothing instead. For the socks, don’t layer them on top because that may restrict blood flow or circulation in the legs.
7. Teach Them to Fall
A pro tip in teaching ice skating for toddlers is to get comfortable with falling on ice. The way you do this is to make sure you fall with your palms on the ground and break it smoothly. Teach them not to fall forward and how to break the falls. This will prevent injuries and boost their confidence in learning new moves too.
8. Practice Figure Skating
Figure skating practice involves making 8s on the ice and looping it. Some kids are naturally talented and love adapting to this new practising technique.
9. Get a Trainer
If you can afford it, getting a trainer who will show your kid the ropes of ice skating is a great choice. This is for parents who don’t know how to ice skate but still want to help out. There are ice skating 4-year old classes and for younger ages these days too. Marching on ice and some basic moves, your kids can practice them outside the rink first. This will help to transition to the rink much easier.
Safety Tips to Avoid Risks
We’re not going to lie – when your child first starts learning how to ice skate, they’re going to slip up and fall down a few times. But what matters more are the skates they wear since those minimize their chances. If you’re worried about ice skating safety for kids, take these tips to heart and we’re sure they will fare better eventually.
- Wear a Helmet: A child may fall down a few times when they’re zipping away on the rink. Make them wear a helmet and if possible, make them wear elbow and knee guards too. This will prevent injuries on the head, arms and legs when they do fall.
- Don’t Skate If the Snow is Less Than Six-inches Thick: You don’t want your kids to break the snow and fall into the cold water. Make sure the snow is at least six inches thick and the rink is sturdy enough to support their weight.
- Assess the Lighting and Surroundings: If the rink is not well lit, it could increase their chances of bumping into other skaters or objects and cause accidents. Check the lighting before letting your kids go ice skating.
And that’s pretty much it. Take your time and put in the practice. Your kids will learn how to ice skate soon enough once they get familiar with the basic movements.