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Tips for Smooth Skating

Learn how to teach your child to ice skate

  • Don't push. If it's not going well, wait a while and try again. Skating readiness usually comes between ages 3 and 7, and varies with each child.
  • Bring a pocketful of small stuffed animals and if the rink's not crowded have your kid practice bending over to pick them up. Later, you can create obstacle courses with them and/or have your child slalom through a line of them.
  • Games will hold a kid's interest if he's getting frustrated or bored.
  • While my child almost always does better in a private lesson, most experts advise enrolling kids in a six- or eight-week group class.
  • Make sure to lace or cinch the boots tightly. If a foot wobbles in its skate boot, your child won't have any stability on the ice.
  • Resist the urge to buy skates big and put on several pairs of socks to make them fit. Wearing more than one pair makes it difficult to feel the ice and the skate edges.
  • Unless your kid gets into hockey, forgo kneepads. Teachers say they restrict movement too much.
  • To improve balance, encourage your child not to look at his feet and to hold his arms out in front, as if putting them on a table.
  • Tell your child to grab her knees if she feels a fall coming on. This will lower her center of gravity and may prevent the fall.
  • When she does fall, showing excessive concern might exaggerate your child's fears. Just hug her and gently encourage her to try again.

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