How to Teach Your Kid to Roller Skate
Roller skating is an awesome sport for kids to take part in. Not only is it something that most children can pick up at a fairly young age, but it involves community just as much as it does individual hard work. It’s one of the only sports that parents can step out onto the rink with their little ones and skate right alongside them, making it a great family activity to do together. If your child is ready to strap on the skates and start learning, these tactics will help ensure they’re skating safely and enjoy the process.
Wear the right gear. The first step to learning any new sport should be to make sure you’re wearing the proper gear. For little ones, this is especially important. As they learn to walk on wheels, falls are inevitable, and having protective gear to combat the fear of falling is vital. Wearing knee pads, wrist guards and a helmet will help them learn that it’s okay to fall.
Start on carpet. Before you head straight for the rink (or outdoors), let them get a feel for their skates on carpet, grass or another soft surface. It gives them more stability and provides a place to land if and when they do fall. Have them start by walking on the skates, then when they feel comfortable, to roll as much as they can on the soft surface.
Teach them posture. Before you let them loose, the carpet or grass is a great place to learn posture for skating because it gives them stability while they work on their form. Their toes should be out, heels in, with their knees bent and their torso leaned forward slightly. It will feel awkward for them at first, but it will help them control their movements once they’re on the rink.
Be patient. This should be a given — but we’ll mention it anyway because, well, it’s really important. No kid wants to learn to skate if they feel stupid while they’re learning. Let them know that it’s okay to fall because everyone who has learned to skate had to start at the beginning.
Skate with them. If your child is more sensitive, learning a new sport can make them feel self-conscious or nervous. The best way to combat this? Learn with them. Strap on your own skates and protective gear (yes, you too!) and show them that you’re in this together. It’s much more comforting to feel like you’re a part of something than to be watched like a hawk by someone who already knows the ropes.
Get outside the comfort zone. Once they’ve gotten the basic movement, don’t be afraid to let them try it out on their own. Skate nearby, cheer them on and watch as they progress. It’s amazing how quickly learning takes hold once they’re not dependent on holding someone’s hand.
Etiquette is essential. Once they’re ready to roller skate on their own, guide them in the rules of the road. In a rink, teach them to move out of the way for more advanced skaters and skate with the flow of traffic. If they’re skating outside, learning how to check for traffic and aim their fall is vital.
Overall, the most important thing you can teach young skaters is to have fun. The skills will come with time if they are enjoying themselves and skating safely and consistently.
- Outdoors Staff