I remember it well.
My howling 4-year-old son, bundled up in winter gear and skates, in the middle of the ice rink. Surrounded by other children concentrating on balance, he spied me over at the gate standing on solid ground. He broke away and angrily half-shuffled, half-skated over to me with a scowl on his face.
Not the ideal start for my son’s first lessons, but he skated!
Growing up in colder parts of Canada, skating lessons were a rite of passage for my generation. Playing on ice was just something we did for fun in winter. But I noticed, as my children started to grow up in North Vancouver with so many outdoor pursuits, ice sports weren’t a high a priority for some parents.
Nevertheless, there were so many good reasons I wanted my kids to skate.
The obvious one: skating is great for physical development.
Kids learn important skills like balance and coordination. These abilities benefit them in a variety of other sports. And once they progress on the ice, it’s great cardiovascular exercise as well.
(P.S. Remember they need a helmet.)
Self-confidence is another reason.
As with anything in life, we feel good about ourselves when we are good at something. Gliding across the ice is an accomplishment. Plus, I knew that many elementary schools send students skating and I wanted to make sure my kids were out there with their peers, not leaning on the boards or left on the bench.
But most importantly, I wanted my kids to learn to skate because it’s fun.
Whether you skate in a rink or outside on a lake, playing on ice can be a blast. And if they like it, it opens a world of sports possibilities like power skating, figure skating, ringette or hockey.
And my son now? Well he’s come a long way since that first set of confidence-building lessons at Harry Jerome Recreation Centre years ago.
In fact, everything moved very quickly once we put a hockey stick in his hand. Suddenly skating was a game and he found it great fun. Now he’s a physically fit, self-assured 10-year-old who plays Atom hockey here on the North Shore.
But most importantly, he comes off the ice with a grin on his face.
For more information on North Vancouver Recreation and Culture skating programs for all ages be sure to visit nvrc.ca/skating.