Ah…the crisp winter air, the scrape of skate blades on ice, rosy-cheeked children holding mitten-clad hands as they skate towards the hot chocolate shack—what’s not to love about skating?
Teaching little kids to skate, that’s what.
Because guess what happens when you plunk a preschooler down on the ice wearing skates for the first time? They wipe out. You pick them up, and they do it all over again, and you soon realize that the only way to keep them upright is to steer them by the shoulders, which quickly results in an aching back for you and a lot of frustration for everyone.
You may find yourself looking around with amazement at families whose wee kids are whizzing past at top speed, turning and gliding and having no trouble at all. How did they get that way? You’ll want to experiment to find what works best for you—but here’s our take on learning to skate.
First of all, for virtually anyone under 4 or 5, pick up a Wee Play Early Skater Learning Aid (or similar—there are other brands), available at Canadian Tire stores. Kids lean on the contraption for balance while pushing it down the ice, saving your back and making them feel capable.
Next, add skates and a helmet. For your basic hockey, figure or recreational skates (and helmets), your nearest Canadian Tire will do. Skate exchanges are a smart idea, and Hopewell Avenue Public School is holding one November 20. If you want to go new and higher-end, or you’re after great service, the places to go are Figure 8/Hockey One, Pro Hockey Life, and Lacroix Sports.
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