How can I, as a parent, help prepare my child emotionally for a ski or snowboard lesson?
Ask your child what they’d like to do, what their goals are (the way you ask the questions will depend on the child’s age). Ask what they’re excited about and what they’re concerned about. Understanding what the child’s expectations are can help mold the parents’ expectations.
Especially with kids who are tentative and may not want to go, it’s important to have this conversation. Tell them that this is an opportunity to learn a lot, to make new friends, or to have an instructor who can show them all the cool stuff on the mountain. Sometimes, it’s just about taking the time to introduce them to their instructor and talk to them about what they’re going to be doing that day, and who they’re going to be with.
What about at the end of the day, especially the first day? What should I talk to my child about to make sure the remainder of the lesson goes well?
As a parent, we want to ask our kids, “What did you learn today?” But typically a child will not know how to answer that; they’ll say, “Nothing.”
A good set of questions starts with, “Did you have fun?” To find out what they learned, you have to be more creative. Ask them what the best part of the day was, and what would they have changed if they could. If they say they wished they could go faster, maybe they need a higher-level lesson. But if they say they were scared or had trouble getting down the slope, maybe it’s worth talking to the instructor about whether they’re in too advanced of a class.
What can I do at the end of the lesson to best prepare us for skiing or snowboarding together as a family?
We strongly recommend that the parents talk to the children’s instructor at the end of the lesson. Ask what runs are appropriate for the family to ski together. Ask what skills they’ve worked on throughout the lesson. Then, allow your child to shine and to show off the skills he or she learned in ski school. Let them lead you down the run.
We also talk a lot about safety, so let the child tell the parents about the safety tips he or she learned as well.