It’s officially winter and the cold weather is here to stay – for a few months, anyway! Getting the kids involved in a winter sport is an excellent way to keep them active while embracing the chill. Hitting the ice rink and going for a skate is a Canadian favourite pastime. With numerous outdoor rinks and arenas, it’s easily accessible, too! What’s the best way to introduce it to the little ones for the first time?

Here are our tips for teaching little ones how to skate:

Dress them appropriately

Before you introduce the ice, ensure your child is dressed appropriately. Snow pants, a winter coat, warm socks, and mittens will all help her feel warm. More importantly, invest in a helmet to prevent head injuries in case of a fall and proper-fitting skates. Click here for more about ice skate gear and safety.

Introduce Skates First

Get your child used to the feel of skates before taking him out onto the ice. Have him stand up and walk on the rubber around the rink in the skates to get him accustomed to the feeling.

Teach Your Child How to Fall

It’s inevitable. Your child will fall on the ice. Teach her how to fall to get her used to the feeling and to know how to do it safely when it happens.  Here are some tips to teach your child how to fall:

  • Have her bend her knees, lean to one side and gently go down onto the ground.
  • When on the ground (or ice) have your child kneel on both knees.
  • While on both knees have her bring one skate up while pushing down on that knee.
  • Have her bring the other skate onto the ice as she stands back up.

Sign up for lessons

Teaching your kids how to skate isn’t always easy, even if you’re skilled on the ice. Consider signing them up for lessons to help build confidence and meet other kids in your area. Find local skating schools by visiting your city website and searching for program listings.