4 y/o scared — The Bump
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4 y/o scared

Hi,
My son is 4 years old, we signed him up for ice skating lessons. He went to the first 2 classes and did good. The 3rd and 4th class was a totally different story. He cried and refused to go out on the ice at all. He said he was scared. He is in full hockey pads so falling shouldn't hurt. He had no problems the first couple classes. I'm not sure what to do to make sure he knows he is safe? We spoke with him and explained he wont get hurt and that we are right outside watching and he seems to get it and says he wants to go, until we get to class then he refuses,

(He did this with swim class also, except he was in swim for almost 2 years, once he started to really get it and get better he decided he was scared and wouldn't go again?)  Nothing happened at either that I saw to spook him or make him so afraid to go again 

Any advice? or maybe books recommendations that could help? I dont know how to get through to him. I hate to see him quit so soon, especially because he seemed to really enjoy the first class!
TIA
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Re: 4 y/o scared

  • Maybe research a book on anxiety? A friends child had anxiety problems.
  • As a skating coach myself, please do NOT force your kid to skate. I strongly suggest bringing him to class, getting him ready, but don't actually sign in/pay for class unless HE wants to skate. I deal with the little ones 5 days a week, and I can't tell you how many times I get yelled at by parents because their kid is sitting on the ice crying hysterically that they don't want to skate. Coaches can't ignore the other students because one child is having a melt down, and its not fair to your child either. If you have time to bring him to public skate during the week (or before classes, not sure where your rink is or the schedule), bring him to just have fun getting used to the ice, but he's able to skate with you. 

    Ask him why he doesnt want to skate with the other hockey boys, and why he's scared. Maybe he somehow got jostled a little bit his last time on the ice. I also would suggest possibly having him skate a Learn To Skate/Basic Skills class with the figure skaters. Its slower paced, and it may give him that little boost of confidence. In the last 3 months alone, I've worked with several small kids who want to play hockey but aren't quite ready to wear all the gear, so we have them start in our learn to skate program, then once the make it through our tiny tots program (called Snowflakes), then they usually are ready to "suit up" and they have a blast. 

    Its a tough decision, but the child has to want to be there. Skating is tough, not going to lie. Some kids get discouraged very easily because they can't keep their little feet under them, especially in hockey skates because they aren't nearly as flat as figure skate blades are. Just keep encouraging him, but don't push him. :) 

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  • Hi Abbie!
    Well, it sounds like you've gotten some good advice already, but I know it's hard to know when to push kids to conquer their fears and when to let them be. And, from what you shared, perhaps your son just has a temperament where he's extra cautious and needs a little extra re-assurance and prodding to try new things. But as far as a book suggestion, have you heard of H. Norman Wright's, Helping Kids Deal With Anger, Fear, and Sadness? Might be helpful. Just a thought!
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