It's winter, and I bet the grandparents have given your daughter a cute little skating dress and she really, really wants to skate. Or maybe your little boy has been watching hockey and wants to skate too. And there's always a chance you have a girl who wants to play hockey or a boy who wants to figure skate. Or maybe, you just want to stick the kids on the ice and read Fifty Shades of Gray on your Kindle--you won't be the first.
What you can do to make the experience happy for your child:
Dress your kid warm. Gloves and a hat are good ideas. Girls should wear pants. Yes you see girls in skimpy costumes on TV but those are professionals. Your kids will be uncomfortable with their first experience if they're cold. If your kid gets hot, you can always take off the hat and jacket, but keep the gloves on. The gloves will help protect tiny little hands from getting torn up when the kid falls on the ice.
Gloves are also important so little kids don't have an excuse to put their hands in their pockets. If your darling has their cold hands in their pockets and falls, you can be facing an expensive dental bill. You'll see teen age boys skating with their hands in their pockets. Well, we all know teen age boys have really good reflexes and if they're not your kid, and you're not paying for their dental surgery. Still don't let your little ones copy them.
A helmet is usually recommended. If you have a bicycle helmet that fits your child, you might as well take it.
I assume you're going to be renting skates. I just want to say that the conventional wisdom is that the following kind of skates are the easiest to skate on:
The toepicks up front make it easier to stop, and the relative flatness of the blade make it easier to balance. These aren't 'figure skates', they're 'regular skates'
I'm now going to give you some Tips:
Important safety tips:
TURN DOWN SKATES THAT HAVE MISSING HOOKS, LACES THAT HAVE BROKEN AND ARE KNOTTED TOGETHER, OR HAVE EYELETS THAT HAVE TORN FROM THE SKATE, OR THE BLADE IS NOT SECURELY ATTACHED TO THE SOLE OF THE BOOT.
I've seen so many kids waddling on the ice on their ankles because the skates are degraded to the state of scraps of canvas and a piece of lace. I don't think they're safe to skate in, especially if the blade is loose.
If there are no skates in your size that are in decent shape, try to go up a size or in a pinch, down a size. You're only going to be out on the ice an hour.
Secondly, even if you have all the eyelets, and hooks, and the blade is securely attached, rental skates are crap. The canvas boot is almost always broken down and give no support, and the last time the blades were sharpened was probably last year, if they have ever been sharpened since their manufacture.
Maybe the man in the family wants to put his little boy in hockey skates rather than regular rental skates. Just a word of warning, hockey skates are notoriously hard to skate in the first time. If the man in the family only want his boy skating in hockey skates because figure skates will make him gay, then you've got more problems than I can give you advice on.
How to have a good time on rental skates
BEND YOUR KNEES! Bend your knees so deeply you feel you're going to sit down, that's about right. Most adults keep their legs stiff and hunch over. It's scary to watch them teeter on the edge of doing a face plant. The fact that it happens so seldom is a real miracle on ice. Most young kids adapt to skating really quickly, even in crap rental skates. They don't seem to mind falling and are so light, that even in crap rental skates, they bounce right back up. Teenagers are hopeless. Worried more about not looking bad than anything else. The girls scream and grab people when they start to go down, the boys like to go fast and don't know how to stop. I won't give any advice about teenagers.
Hope you enjoy your trip to the ice rink!