How to Prepare for Your Kids First Ski Lesson.
Plan ahead to get your kids ready for their first ski lesson and their first season of skiing. If your kids want to ski, make sure they (and you) are prepared.
If your kids are going to take a ski lesson while you are on a ski vacation, or if you live in an area where skiing is popular and your kids are ready to start, a few guidelines and the right gear will make all the difference in their (and thus your) enjoyment for their first day skiing.
A Day of Ski School
Prepare Kids for Skiing
Make sure your kids know what you have in store for them. Explain what skiing is, show them a picture book and hype it up as fun, but something that takes practice. Kids get discouraged easily and if they expect to hop right up and start skiing, they may want to quit before they really get started.
Show them videos of kids their age learning to ski. Luckily, with online video sites, this is not difficult. Make sure the kids in those videos are having fun and don't look uncomfortable. Alternatively, if you have time, take your kids to watch a ski lesson (easier if you live in a ski town).
Full face ski masks are useful for the colder days on the mountain and fit under the helmet.
What Should Your Kids Wear for Skiing?
You want your child to be comfortable, warm and safe when they are learning to ski. Dress them for the weather. More kids end up complaining that they are hot or sweaty, having been overdressed, rather than under. Use layers to keep heat in but that can be removed if necessary.
HEAD- Your child must wear a helmet. Not only is it safer, some resorts require it. You can purchase or rent a helmet. The best kind have a removable liner that lets the helmet adapt to the weather. A helmet with a liner is warm and will usually cover the ears, so a hat is not required. On warm days, the liner can be removed to keep your child from sweating and being too warm.
Goggles are best for children on all days. Sunglasses don't provide complete protection and tend to slide down or fall off, distracting a child from their lesson and enjoyment.
BODY- Dress your child in layers. On the coldest days, use long underwear as a base layer, put a layer of fleece over that and then the snow pants and coat. Warmer days need only snow pants without a base layer, a thin layer close to the body on top, with a ski jacket. Each day and each child are different. Do not put so many thick layers on your child that they can't bend or move freely.
HANDS- Make sure you put water-proof (or at least resistant) mittens on you small child. They keep the fingers warmer and are easier for them or their coach to get on and off for breaks. Those mittens that have "thinsulate" are good since they are not so thick as to keep their hands from bending, but still keep them warm.
FEET- Don't choose the thickest socks because you think they will keep your child's feet warmer. A medium thickness sock will do on most days and will not cause pinching or numbness of the toes. Boots should be fitted with the help of a professional unless you are an experienced skier, yourself. They need to be snug without being too tight or having pressure points. If your child is renting, have them wear the pair that seems to fit the best around the shop and walk and bounce in them to ensure comfort.
Ski Lessons for Kids
Summary for Parents
**Take it slow with your kids. At a young age, they don't have the stamina to ski all day. They will need frequent breaks and tire easily. Keep your expectations realistic. I heard a parent complain once that they saw their child on two breaks during an all day ski lesson and felt they were wasting their money. Kids need the breaks. If they get exhausted, hungry and dehydrated, they will be miserable and end up hating skiing. That would be a waste of money.
**Learning to ski is frustrating. Try to keep it fun and positive and praise their progress, even if it seems slow to you. Let them "talk it up". Even if they snowplow all the way down the hill,
they may be talking about how fast they were going or how they "jumped"
(went over a bump). This is good for their confidence. My five year old does this all the time and the more he talks it up, the braver he is the next time he's on the hill.
**Dress them appropriately. I see way more kids who are overdressed rather than underdressed. Layer your children's clothing. If they are taking an all day lesson, you can arrange to meet them at a break or at lunch. If they are sweaty with a red face, consider taking the liner out of their helmet or taking a layer off. Taking long underwear off of their tops works well.
Ski helmets for kids are required at most resorts. Buy a good, well-fitting helmet that gets good reviews from other parents.
Kids ski jackets should be movable and comfortable. This link provides lots of options with a variety of sizes, styles and prices for boys and girls.
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