How to dress your child for indoor ice skating

Most indoor ice skating rinks maintain a temperature between 45 and 60 degrees, depending on the temperature outside. When you dress your child for ice skating lessons or free skating in the ice rink, your first challenge will be warmth.

Skaters will be exercising strenuously, so it is important to dress your child in thin layers that can be removed easily as their bodies warm up. Avoid dressing your child in a bulky winter coat, as heavy coats make it difficult to move freely. A warm turtleneck under a warm, close-fitting sweater will keep your child warmer than a winter coat, and will allow free movement.

Many girls want to wear a skating dress. If you plan to have your daughter take homework, a simple skating dress and tights could be a good investment. However, if she is just going to skate recreationally now and then, this may not be an investment you want to make.

Close fitting sweat pants or zipped wind pants are good choices for both boys and girls. Jeans do not have much ability to stretch, they easily absorb moisture, and they are very slow to dry, which makes them a less optimum choice for skating.

One of the most important parts of your skater’s wardrobe should be a comfortable pair of thin, seamless socks. A sock with seams can rub against the foot and cause blisters. Because skate boots are designed to be tight, thick socks can squeeze the feet and reduce circulation, which will make your child’s feet feel cold more quickly.

If your child will be renting ice skates, bring along a thicker pair of socks to wear over the thin pair to provide extra padding in case the rented rink skates do not fit perfectly or are well-worn.

For some reason skaters should always wear gloves. Gloves obviously will keep a skater’s hands warm. They also provide some protection in case of a fall on the ice or if another skater runs into a child who has fallen.

A warm wool hat will keep your skater’s head and ears warm. Avoid any head covering that could distort your skater’s vision. “Hodies” or park hoods should be avoided.

For the same reason, skaters should never wear scarves, which can block vision or catch a skate. Many rinks prohibit any type of scarf on the ice.

Girls should always have their hair pulled back or restrained, so that it can not get in the eyes.

Avoid letting your skater wear jewelry. Most rinks prohibit any kind of jewelry, which can break and fall onto the ice and trip another skater.

And finally a comment to parents of boys: Boys will be extremely uncomfortable if they are asked to wear white skates. If you have inherited a pair of white skates that fit your boy, either paint them black (black shoe polish will work too, but it can be messy), or cover them with black skate covers. Your son will skate much more confidently if he “fits in” with the other boys in the rink.

If your child will take ice skating lessons, you can observe what the other students are wearing before the first lesson and talk to the coach about appropriate clothing for lessons.

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