Ice skating is fun anytime of the year, but many families decide to try skating for the first time in the winter. We asked Stacey Isenberg, the director of the Skating School at Westchester Skating Academy for some advice and she told us the four most important things parents can do to make sure a skating outing is fabulous and fun.
WEAR A HELMET
For sanitary reasons, skating rinks do not rent helmets, but it is especially important for your child to wear one at all times while they are on the ice. Isenberg says your child can wear their bike, ski or hockey helmet. Just make sure they wear it correctly and that you actually pack it in the car before you head to the rink.
It can get quite chilly in the rink, but you don’t want to dress your child in bulky gear. Kids need to be able to move comfortably in order to ice skate. Dressing in layers is best. Waterproof, but not bulky, pants are great. “Scarves are discouraged as they can be a tripping hazard, a neck gaiter is a better choice,” says Isenberg. And make sure to wear gloves.
SKATES: RENT OR BUY?
If your child is a beginner, Isenberg says it is best to rent skates. Once your child expresses greater interest, then you can make the investment in skates. What is critical is the type of socks your child wears. “Thin mid-calf or thin knee-high socks are the best,” says Isenberg. Heavy thick socks will interfere with a good skating boot fit.
Do you know how to skate? Are you comfortable taking your child on the ice alone for the first time? Be honest. If not, plan ahead and set up an individual or group skating lesson. Also be sure to check the rink schedule for the times of public skate sessions.