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How to Introduce Winter Sports to Your Kids


Unlike warm-weather sports, children are not exposed to winter sports regularly in gym class or outdoor games, so you might be asking yourself how to get your kids involved in them. Here are a few ideas:

1. Watch winter sports together. 

Instead of movie night, have sports nights by watching hockey games, ski competitions, figure skating performances and speed skating races. Snuggle up with snacks, and see how your children enjoy watching the competition. Pay attention to which sports snag your children's attention. Find ways to discuss what they find most interesting about them. This can help you figure out which sport they might like to try.

2. Ask your children about their favorite outdoor games or summer sports. 

Understanding which warm sports your children like will help you identify which winter sports might peak their interest. For example, the team structure 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 snowboarding tricks might be appealing to a young skateboarder.

3. Explore sports during school vacation or on a long weekend. 

Focus your children's school vacation on fun winter activities. Find open ice skating hours or plan a short trip to a mountain and take a beginner level skiing class. Don't explicitly tell them that they are trying out different sports. Instead emphasize to them that you are learning a fun new activity together. Your children might be open to trying something new when they are surrounded by familiar, supportive faces.

4. Research school-sponsored trips and clubs. 

Once your children start to show an interest in sports, support them by finding opportunities for them to practice. Schools will often offer an annual ski trip or something similar. But some schools might be limited in which sports they can offer and may not have a figure skating team, for example. Search online to find a nearby rink or local team that might be open to letting your child participate in or watch a practice.

5. Hire a private coach. 

Before introducing your children to the pressure of a team, you might want to enlist the help of a private coach by booking a beginner session. Your children will get exposure to the sport with safe, qualified instructors. Have your children invite a friend or two for moral support and book a coach for a small group session. Learning proper technique from the beginning in a supportive environment will give them more confidence to continue with the sport.

Regardless of which sport your children choose, the top priorities should be about having fun and staying safe. Getting involved in your children's exploration of winter sports will not only strengthen a trusting parental relationship but will allow you to make lasting family memories.

Courtesy of CoachUp, a service that connects athletes of all levels to nearby private coaches.

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