Since your child’s birth, you’ve been chomping at the bit to nurture the next Mario Lemieux or Peggy Fleming — or maybe you just want to share your interest in ice skating with your little one, but you’re not sure where to get started.

How Old To Start Ice Skating

When is it time to take your child on the ice? Most experts say, once he or she can walk, your child can balance on skates. This may vary, depending upon your child’s physical capabilities. Also, it’s best to wait until your child can understand simple instructions before taking to the ice. Most believe the best time is somewhere between two and three years old.

Best Ice Skates To Start With

The best ice skates for a toddler to learn to skate in, are skates with solid plastic skate boots and adjustable straps that can work with ever growing feet. It will be a strap that looks similar to a ski boot strap, and can be adjusted per each time on the ice. These types of skates come with a soft inner bootie that is typically adjustable, as well, and can give extra comfort to sensitive little feet.

Children’s ice skates are sized in junior sizes, so it would look like 6J or 10J. These sizes run small, so it’s best to choose a size or two above your child’s shoe size, and bring two pairs of thick socks just in case.

Many believe toddlers should begin with double-bladed skates for added balance. But most experts say the double-blades can get in a child’s way, causing loss of control, and hinder a child’s ability to learn the technique.

The best to choose are single-bladed adjustable skates

With single bladed skates, the blades extend back further than the skate boot to help prevent falling backwards. The rocker style blades, such as on most ice hockey skates, assist in agility, but allow for falls more easily.

One thing a beginning skater should avoid from a figure skate — is the toe pick

A toe pick is a jagged serrated edge at the toe of the skate blade. This toe pick is meant to help a skater stop gracefully, but young children find it will usually send them face down on the ice. There are many brands of skates that do not have the toe pick. However, if you find yourself with a pair that have the toe pick, you’ll either have to instruct your child on its proper use, or have it ground down until smooth.

Other Considerations

Helmet – The ice is hard, and most children don’t understand what will happen to them when they fall on ice. Many consider a hockey helmet the best choice since it has a cage to protect the face.

Knee Pads – These are great for simple falls, as children either fall backwards or forwards, and forwards means knees. Wearing knee pads can prevent a plethora of bruises.

Gloves – When toddlers fall…they need to learn to push themselves up off of the ice. Many consider ice hockey gloves to be the best, because of extra padding, but they’re not necessary. Simple mittens can offer the needed warmth.

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