Today is the first class of a new Learn to Skate session and I'm so excited to meet my new students and parents (and also to have my old students/parents back with me)! The first class is usually the craziest and most confusing, therefore it is important to arrive at the rink early so you and your child have ample time to check in, lace up your skates, layer up and meet your instructor. Make sure you have your child come prepared to class with warm clothing. I don't know how many students I've taught who don't wear jackets and gloves/mittens on the ice and they get so cold by the first ten minutes of lesson and lose focus and concentration and consequently, don't learn much during the rest of class.
Wearing gloves not only keeps your child's hands warm but also provides protection in case he/she falls and we all know, falling is highly likely when learning a new skill. I recommend buying inexpensive gloves and having more than one pair in your bag because kids seem to often lose or misplace their gloves easily.
It's also a good idea to layer clothing and have a jacket so that your child can take off when he/she starts moving a lot and his/her body temperatures get warmer. It's best to wear clothes that your child is comfortable in and will allow him/her to easily move and stretch. I always see one or two kids wearing jeans to class. I highly recommend no jeans because it can be bulky and too constrictive and conforming to legs that it does not allow your child to move freely on the ice. Also skating in wet jeans can be very uncomfortable and again, it's all about staying warm and comfortable to have a good lesson. Sweatpants or leggings are also appropriate and I would recommend snow pants to be worn over them to protect your child from getting cold and wet when falling. In addition to jacket(s), gloves and appropriate pants, it's important to wear thin socks. Thin socks are better than bulky ones because it allows your child's skates to fit snug around the feet and also avoids having any potential bumps inside the skates. Don't worry so much about your child's feet getting cold because there's ample insulation from the skates. I also don't recommend cotton socks because the fabric absorbs moisture when your child's feet sweat so he/she will have cold and wet feet which leads to discomfort.
A good fitting bike, ski, or hockey helmet is also highly recommended if your child is under 6 yrs of age. Even older kids are encouraged to wear helmets, especially if it is their first time on the ice. Forgetting any of these essential items can negatively affect your child’s experience on the ice as comfort and safety are extremely crucial aspects of skating. So be prepared and your child will be happy and sure to have a great time learning new skills and tricks!