Raleigh Winterfest's downtown ice rink opened up last weekend for the season. And, between now and when it closes on Jan. 29, there will be a lot of first-time skaters out there.
My older daughter was four when she first ventured on the ice. And while I'd skated a lot as a child, I had no idea how to help her other than to tell her to stay close to the wall.
It turns out staying close to the wall isn't great advice, according to Robyn Poe, a competitive figure skating coach at Polar Ice House, which operates the downtown rink. I met up with Poe, a mom of two, and 11-year-old competitive figure skater Grace Regan to get some tips on how parents can help their novice skaters enjoy the ice.
Hanging onto the wall, Poe tells me, could actually cause more injury because the child could not only hit the ice, but also the wall.
"Wean them off the wall as quickly as possible," she tells me. Polar Ice House offers tips for first-time skaters
Poe also offers tips on what kids should wear; why they should practice falling before they get on the ice; and the first steps they should take once they get on the ice.
One big tip: If you're holding hands and your child falls, don't fall with them.
"When they fall, let go," she said. "Kids are very agile."
And a couple good rules to follow: Never carry your child on the ice., Poe said. And never wear your shoes on it either.
For many more tips, watch the video. If your child learns to love skating, Polar Ice House offers lessons at its Cary, Wake Forest and Garner locations for kids as young as age 2. Click here for details. Polar Ice House in Garner also will present a holiday show from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., Dec. 16. Tickets start at $5.
Thank you Robyn and Grace for your help!
Raleigh Winterfest is open nearly every day in December and January, except for some Mondays. It costs $8 per person to skate. On Thursday mornings, the rink is open for stroller skating, where you can push your child in a stroller and skate. For details, click here.