Living in Canada, we all have developed a thick skin to deal with the cold winters and we are well known for our love of hockey. Therefore, it isn’t uncommon to have our children learn an important skill, skating.
Now I was born and raised in Canada but this was one skill that I was not encouraged to learn so I never really tried and never felt that I was missing out. Then I met my husband and he was all about ice hockey. He played for fun and I found myself at the arenas cheering him on. I started to feel a little left out at this point so I asked my husband to teach me how to skate. We were still dating at this point so I am figuring he wanted to impress me so he sweetly accepted my request to teach me.
Long story short, skating wasn’t for me as for some odd reason I couldn’t skate and talk at the same time. Therefore, I decided that I wasn’t meant for the ice world but enjoyed watching others skate while I sit with a hot chocolate in my hands.
Even though skating wasn’t for me, I still had interest in having my daughter learn the skill. We waited until our daughter was good and ready to learn so this year was the year to start. My mother-in-law looked into skating lessons at our nearby community centre and enrolled our daughter in class.
We have been going once a week for 30 minutes, the last four weeks. The lessons are quick and since our daughter is under the age of four, she needs to be accompanied by a skating parent so this is where daddy comes to the rescue.
Since I am the non-skating parent who has been watching from the distance, I thought I should provide some tips for parents who want their child to learn skating. These tips will hopefully better prepare you for the journey.
Research and Register
One of the first tips is to look into different programs and classes that are available at your local community centre. Ask all the questions that you need to beforehand to help make it a more successful experience for you and your child. Ask what is needed for the class and any restrictions that you should be aware of. There is a fee in our community so make sure you know what they are in your city.
Be Prepared. Equipment and Safety
Shopping for the appropriate clothing and equipment needed for skating is very important. Your child will need: appropriate skates (lace ups are recommended for beginners), splash pants to wear over the child’s pants, warm jacket, gloves and of course a helmet. You can always ask a personnel at the store to assist you in finding the appropriate skates and helmet that fits your child. Safety is a must!
Lower First Class Expectations
The first class is going to be very hard for your child and it might also be for you as the non-skating parent. My daughter did not do well in her first class. She was frustrated, scared and was unsure of what was going on. There were a few tears along the way from my daughter and from myself. By the end of the class, my daughter expressed how much she didn’t like skating and she didn’t want to try again. This of course broke my heart as I think we all expected the best experience of her life and we didn’t prepare her well enough for the possible disappointment of how difficult it would be.
Lower your expectations and don’t put added pressure on your child before their first class. Discuss with them how it will be hard at first and there will be some falls along the way. However, with some practice and patience it will get better. This discussion helped us convince her to try again the next week.
Provide Encouragement and Support
It is important to encourage and support your child on the sidelines. They will find you as they are learning to skate. Try to establish eye contact with them as soon as you can. Smile and give a thumbs up to encourage how well they are doing. It is remarkable to see your child’s face light up when they see you and how proud you look to see them getting better.
It is also important to mention that if your child is not enjoying the activity at all then it may not be for them. Know that it is perfectly ok and a child should not be forced to do something that they do not like doing. If it becomes forceful than it will not be enjoyable for anyone.
Prepare for Skating Tiredness
Skating is hard work and it involves a lot of balancing (from what I can see at a distance) so it is no surprise that your child can become very tired from it. Therefore, it is important to be aware and prepared for it. Unfortunately, our class is in the middle of the day which can be challenging at times as we find that our daughter gets exhausted but a nap is not ideal since it is late in the day (it would spoil bedtime).
Tip would be to try to book a class that would fit into your child’s routine or if you can’t then try to maybe schedule a quick nap before the lesson. Worse case scenario is that you will have a cranky preschooler for the rest of the day until bedtime but try to make the best out of it. What I try to remember is that proud smiling face looking at me on how she is learning to skate. 🙂
Enjoy the Skating Journey
Skating is definitely a journey as there are ups and downs while your child learns this special skill. But my tip is to enjoy every minute of it, even if it is on the sidelines.
As soon as your child starts to skate on their own (even for a little bit), its that special moment that your heart had been waiting for. The utter proudness in their face when they realize that they are doing it all by themselves, is what special memories are made of. We recently felt that when our daughter started skating on her own and after class said, “I did it! I am awesome!”
These are my top quick tips on the skating experience from a non-skating parent. Even though I don’t know how to skate or understand the steps in learning. I am there on the sidelines cheering and supporting my daughter along the way. I am also cheering for my husband who is there by her side to help her on the ice.
I get to capture the moments on video and photos which I can then show my daughter on how well she did. It is a great opportunity for her to see her improvements and in her words how awesome she is. 😉
Our skating journey has become a family experience as we watch a little girl bond with her dad on something that he has loved since he was a child. In turn, we watch his parents (the little girl’s grandparents) hearts fill with joy as they see their once little boy as a man teaching his daughter how to skate. That is the memory that I will hold onto forever and makes sitting at the sidelines all worth it.
Until next time…Happy Parenting!