How to introduce your kids to winter sports

Boy skiing

Winter is here and we’re already hearing the buzz for the Winter Olympic games next February. You might be asking yourself how to get your kids involved in the exciting world of winter sports. Unlike warm-weather sports that children are exposed to regularly in gym class, summer camp, or outdoor games, winter sports can feel more difficult to learn. 

Here are a few ways you can introduce your child to the world of winter sports this season:

1. Watch winter sports together. Instead of movie night, swap out movies for hockey games, ski competitions, figure skating performances, and speed skating races. Snuggle up with snacks and see how your child enjoys watching the competition. See which sports get your child most excited. Find ways to discuss what they find most interesting about the sport. This can help you get a benchmark for which sport they are naturally drawn to and would stick to.

2. Ask your child about their favorite outdoor game or summer sport. Understanding what other sports your child gets excited about will help you identify which winter sports might resonate the most. For example, the team nature of hockey might be appealing for a young soccer player; the dance element of figure skating might be appealing to a young ballet student; the racing nature of skiing or speed skating might be appealing to a young runner or swimmer; and the trick nature of snowboarding might be appealing to a young skateboarder.

Mom and daughter skiing3. Explore sports during school vacation or a long weekend. Make your child’s school vacation all about fun winter activities. Don’t explicitly tell them that they are trying out different sports. Instead emphasize to your child that they you are learning a fun new activity together. Your child might be open to trying something new when surrounded by familiar and supportive faces. Find open ice skating hours or plan a short trip to a mountain and take a beginner’s class.

4. Research school-sponsored trips and clubs. Once your child starts to show an interest in a sport, support them by finding opportunities for them to practice. Schools will often offer an annual ski trip or start a weekly ski or something similar. At the same time, some schools might be limited in their sport offerings and not have, for example, a figure skating team. Conduct online research to find a nearby rink and local team that might be open to letting your child participate in a practice or let you watch a practice.

5.  Hire a private coach. Another great first step before introducing your child to the dynamics or pressure of a team is enlisting the help a private coach. Book a session with a private coach in a winter sport and arrange for some beginner sessions. Your child will get exposure to the sport from safe and qualified instructors. Have your child invite a friend for moral support and book a coach for a small group session. Learning proper technique from the get-go in a supportive environment will give them more confidence to continue with the sport.   

Regardless of which sport you choose, for your child, the priority should always be about having fun and staying safe. Getting involved in your child’s exploration of winter sports will not only strengthen a trusting parental relationship but will allow you to make lasting family memories.  The time you spend with your child learning and experiencing winter activities might just open doors to future opportunities and instill a new found passion for your child.

Courtesy of CoachUp, www.coachup.com