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Author Topic: How to dress child for lessons  (Read 671 times)

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Offline lljc00

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How to dress child for lessons
« on: January 08, 2017, 04:09:12 PM »
My daughter is 8, and has been taking lessons for almost a year.  She's started the latest session in Gamma.  Her group lesson format is 30 min with instructor, 15 min free skate (individual practice/play time), 15 min entire rink (alpha-delta) comes together to do some rink-crossing practice (swizzles, lunges, what ever)

I have her dress in:
Non-cotton leggings, usually fleece lined or otherwise some flocked inner surface.  They aren't ice skating pants or otherwise athletic-performance made , just a little bit thicker, lined department store/Target/Kohls type.
Down jacket (she's usually in her school uniform polo under that, often short-sleeved, but sometimes long sleeved)
Fleece mittens (they seem decently thick) with another set of polyester dollar-store mittens under that
Hat - sometimes she'll wear it, sometimes not

She doesn't fall much at this stage, and when she does, she's learned to brush off the "snow" from her pants.  Occasionally, she'll man-handle with the "snow" when she finds a buddy also interested in doing so, so her gloves may or may not get soaked. 

She says she's warm enough, but she's also not the most in-touch or expressive with her feelings, physical, emotional or otherwise.  And sometimes she'll want to end early because she says she's cold.

Do you think she's dressed warm enough?  I would think that her first half hour lessons aren't particularly sweat-building since they are working on a skill, and it's a lot of stop and go. 
Do you think she would benefit with more typical ice-skating pants? 
Is the down jacket a good idea?  No rain (its indoor), so she should be good on insulation.  I was thinking of getting her another jacket just because, so tips on what to look for would be appreciated (stay away from hood, or a hood is not a big deal because it's not like she's doing tons of spins, at least not fast, or down is fine for now, but might be too hot when she gets to xxx level, etc).

She's very petite (wears at best 6-6x, but could go to 4 or 5 if it weren't for length), so finding some of the nike/under armour performance clothes in her size has been challenging.

Offline donanobispacem

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Re: How to dress child for lessons
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2017, 05:54:27 PM »
The best person to know whether or not she's too cold is your skater. From the sounds of it, she may benefit from some practice pants if she's sometimes complaining of the cold. My 5 wears fleece lined pants that also repell moisture on the outside and whatever shirt she feels like that day. We rotate between a Mondor skating jacket, her club jacket, and a plain old North Face fleece. It's a good day if I can convince her to keep the jacket on; the gloves require some insisting on my part. It's really down to what she's comfortable in and unfortunately, the littles seem to require quite a bit of trial and error.  :D

Offline LunarSkater

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Re: How to dress child for lessons
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2017, 06:25:13 PM »
Do you alter what she wears depending on the season? Rinks tend to be chillier in the winter than in the summer. For example, during the summer I wear a short sleeved t-shirt and a lightweight running jacket with one pair of leggings. Occasionally, I'll wear a long-sleeved t-shirt. During the winter, I wear two pairs of leggings, a form-fitting tank top underneath a long-sleeved t-shirt - or a turtleneck if it's really chilly - and a fleece jacket. None of my clothes are skating-specific.

Some suggestions I've noticed from my time at the rink:
- A wide knitted headband that goes over the ears but doesn't cover the entire head. It provides warmth without getting too hot.
- Extra gloves in your bag. Even brushing off snow can get them soaked sometimes.
- I've seen people in down jackets (generally around your daughter's skill level). Down vests are popular with coaches and high-level skaters at my rink. More freedom of movement, but still keeps the core warm.
- I wouldn't recommend a hood. It will eventually get in the way and it's extra bulk she'd be carrying around.
- Skating-specific clothes aren't always needed. They're expensive (you're often paying for the name) and kids outgrow them. Most of the skaters I know wear stuff from normal stores (like the fleece-lined leggings you use) and have skating tights underneath if they need to.

Also, it's the stop-and-go that gets people chilly. When you're moving, you tend to be warmer. When you stop, that's when you feel the cold. Is your daughter typically one to sweat? Consider carrying a spare shirt she can quickly switch into when she transitions from class to free time. Also, maybe having her change out of her school polo into something else might help.

Oh! Is it her feet that are cold, but everything else is fine? Consider using different socks. Or even boot covers. You can't always mitigate this one (the feet are the part of the body closest to the ice), but there are things to try.

Ask your daughter what she thinks is warm enough. You mentioned she's not always expressive, but she is the one skating and she needs to be comfortable. Everyone has different needs in clothing. What she is wearing seems adequate to me, but it's her opinion that matters.

Offline Query

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Re: How to dress child for lessons
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2017, 06:27:06 PM »
People vary so much, in what they need for a given set of conditions, that it is hard to say. I go with others in assuming that the child mostly knows best whether she is cold, unless you have reason to believe otherwise.

My personal preference is to dress in layers, especially on top, where it is easy to take off or put on a layer, because that lets her adapt to whatever sometimes makes her cold. In other words, bring more than one jacket or fleece layer, so she can switch, or wear more than one.

BTW, down is wonderfully light (assuming it is top of the line), but becomes abruptly useless if you sweat too much.

Quote
She's very petite (wears at best 6-6x, but could go to 4 or 5 if it weren't for length), so finding some of the nike/under armour performance clothes in her size has been challenging.

It's not cheap, and you should only wash/dry it on delicate cycles, but most outdoor kid's underclothing from REI or from Campmor (Campmore is sometimes a little cheaper, but consider shipping, if applicable.) comes in those sizes. There is similar stuff at many outdoor sports (e.g., camping) stores and outlets. Maybe you can find them other places on-line, like eBay.

With regards to feet (if and only if that is the problem) insoles made from closed cell foam, like some carpet foams, have been overwhelmingly the best solution for me. But you would have to cut and adapt them yourself, and from what you say, she may not be able to give you enough feedback on fit and balance.

For the hat - would it help to find one she thought stylish, that she gets to pick out? I just use lightweight fleece from the dollar store, but little girls are different.

But I can't really talk - I just rink-guarded an outdoor session in bitter cold, without thinking to bring a scarf or baklava. Brrrr.

Offline Ethereal Ice

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Re: How to dress child for lessons
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2017, 07:53:38 PM »
I also skate in fleece lined cotton leggings sometimes, but I wear leg warmers over my lower leg and boot, they make a major difference keeping my feet and lower legs warm.  What I wear on top really varies. As others have said, the rink temp can really vary, especially with time of year. There is one rink I often end up in a short sleeve t shirt after warming up, but my regular rink in the winter which can have me in a long sleeve t and heavy fleece over. And everything in between, my favorite thing for movement and warmth so a long sleeve t shirt and fleece vest. As others have stated, layers are the best. And yes, if she is coming off early due to being cold something may not be quite right. I have the issue of sweating and then getting chilled if I am still too long, so make sure it is not that.

Offline AgnesNitt

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Re: How to dress child for lessons
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2017, 08:39:39 PM »
May I suggest a sleeveless undershirt to keep the chest warm, and a hat. I've found even a thin under vest under a heavy top, does wonders, and a hat is essential.

Also, sew or safety pin closed any pockets. This helps prevent emergency visits to the dentist.
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Offline lljc00

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Re: How to dress child for lessons
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2017, 09:02:11 PM »
Thanks for all the replies. 

As for rink temperature - gosh, I didn't notice there was any difference between summer and winter.  I just bemused myself that it would be 100 degrees outside, and I've got my down jacket ready to throw on as we enter the rink!  I didn't notice a difference (sitting in the bleachers), but I'll check with the rink on that. 

She's pretty consistently worn the down jacket (It's a North Face, with 550 fill, no hood).  We've rotated through a couple of pants of varying thickness.  I just bought a few new ones because I imagine some of the insulation has thinned over the past year with weekly washing.  I haven't ever noticed her getting sweaty with these on.

I hadn't even thought about the socks/boots/feet.  Makes sense that extra insulation might be needed there given its proximity to cold!  Is that why they make those pants cover the back half of boots?  For added insulation?  With leg warmers, dont you (at least at a higher level) have to worry about catching your blade on it (or any other loose fitting legged pants).  We've always just gone with whatever socks she has on that day.  We have a pair of thick fuzzy socks, but I actually thought against using them.  Whenever I wear thick socks, I feel like my feet slip in them more, and the heel ends up making its way down to my arch.  We do have a bunch of socks I set aside for skiing - wool for the reason of getting wet and not being so cold.  Perhaps I can pull those out and rotate them through our skating bag. 

I also have some moisture-wicking shirts that we use skiing.  I guess it wouldn't hurt to have her change into those too (we pick up from school and change in the car, so usually it's just a waist, down thing). 

I definitely ask her how things feel, but she pretty much gives me an auto-reply :-)  I guess I should say its good unless she complains, which is very rare, let alone with a specific cause identified. 

Offline LunarSkater

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Re: How to dress child for lessons
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2017, 07:12:32 PM »
You're welcome.

The rink's temperature itself doesn't generally change - they have to be pretty consistent for ice quality. But what it feels like? Oh, yeah. I live in Florida and my rink is usually between 45-50 degrees on average (there's a thermometer above the doorway to the lobby). During the winter it tends to drop closer to 40. When the rink is in a metal building and the outside air doesn't warm up nearly as much as it does during summer, the air inside the rink doesn't warm up either. It makes the ice, already cold, feel much colder. Same reason - at least in my experience - rinks feel colder in the morning than in the afternoon.

A reason skating pants cover the tops of the boots is to keep the laces, if they come undone, from falling to the ice and creating a safety hazard. The tight fabric traps them. (It's why I never skate in anything but leggings pulled down to cover. Learned the hard way - I took a fall because I was wearing loose pants and couldn't untangle the blade exiting a spin.)

Fuzzy socks might not fit in her skates - you want a snug fit, not tight - and I'd recommend against them for the same reason you decided against having her wear them. But yes, try experimenting with different types of socks and see if they make a difference or if she finds something she prefers. As for leg warmers, I've never worn them, but the people I see that do generally don't wear them bunchy.

A good percentage of the girls I skate with come from school. Half of them use the rink bathrooms to change. Do you have a time between school and lesson or is it more of an 'arrive at the rink and run to the ice' thing?

Well, if she isn't complaining and seems to be fine, I think you're doing a decent job dressing her for the environment.  :)

Offline Ethereal Ice

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Re: How to dress child for lessons
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2017, 11:37:09 PM »
I am a leg warmer wearer,  and yes, I always wear them smooth, pulled down snug over the boot. If you ever wear thigh high warmers there will be extra fabric, I usually do a single fold around the ankle area. As far as very advanced skaters wearing them, I notice that Kseniya of the You Tube videos wears both knee high and thigh high warmers and she skates in very close proximity to her ice dancing partner Oleg doing complex foot work, I figured if she is safe in them I will probably be.

As for the socks and foot warmth, the general skating rule is thin socks for a good boot fit  (I use trouser socks, kind of the thickness of tights) and rely on external covers ( boot covers, leg warmers, long pants) to actually keep the feet warm. I have heard of people trying insulated soles, I tried some and just that slight change in thickness in my boots was too tight, but maybe someone else would find them useful.

Offline lljc00

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Re: How to dress child for lessons
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2017, 06:09:10 PM »
Thanks for the science on the air temp.  I'll check on whether the rink has a thermometer.  Otherwise, I have a small stick-on thermometer I've carried in my ski jacket (not sure how accurate is is, but it's probably good enough)

I've wondered why more (beginner/younger) ice skates haven't been made with velcro closure?  Tradition?  I actually bought this velcro strap that I put around my daughter's boot ankles after I've laced them up.  That way, I don't have to worry about trying to get the laces tight, or redoing it if I've accidentally lost my grip on the way to making the bow.  Good to know that it provides a back up for them not coming undone!

Her ski socks are actually just a pair of regular knee highs, though made of wool (almost like school uniform socks).  So they aren't unnecessarily thick, just moisture wicking.  I might make her a pair of leg warmers/boot covers - I'm looking for a new knitting project!

We don't have a ton of time between pick up and lessons, but I could probably pick up a few minutes early to get changed.  I dont think she minds changing in the car - my windows are tinted, and frankly, she's a bit obtuse about keeping her privates private.  Besides, I'm not a fan of changing clothes in a "wet" area - stuff can fall on the ground too easily!

Offline Ethereal Ice

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Re: How to dress child for lessons
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2017, 07:09:09 PM »


I've wondered why more (beginner/younger) ice skates haven't been made with velcro closure?  Tradition?  I actually bought this velcro strap that I put around my daughter's boot ankles after I've laced them up.  That way, I don't have to worry about trying to get the laces tight, or redoing it if I've accidentally lost my grip on the way to making the bow.  Good to know that it provides a back up for them not coming undone!


They aren't beginner skates necessarily but I think the new Edeas have the option of not a velcro closure,  but a velcro overlay on the top,  I assume to protect the lace tie.It also gives it a rather sleek look IMO. A friend of me has new Edea dance boots and I think she used the velcro thingie at first but I have not seem her with it lately.  If you have to adjust your laces it is just one more thing to have to pull on and off.

There are some hockey boots made with the disc that you turn that tightens the whole lace system and then pull it out or push it in to release it.  They are lower level boots but my husband had a pair and loved the convenience.  I think the whole thing with laces,  old fashioned and pain in the tush as they may be,  is that you can get a very specific fit, literally varying the tightness from hole set to hole set. For people with difficult to fit feet that can be quite helpful. I am also kind of surprised that the very beginner styles of some of the more common boots don't offer velcro closures either, it may indeed be tradition or maybe they have made prototypes at some point and got bad feedback about them. Sure would save some parents the trouble of helping with laces

Offline lljc00

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Re: How to dress child for lessons
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2017, 12:11:41 AM »
At the beginner levels, which, of course not all, but a lot of the size 13 or smaller is going to be, I doubt they'd need so specific a fit that velcro closures dont get you 90% there.  A ton of parents would be so happy, because the kids could probably even tighten them up themselves!  The hockey skates with the fastening system sound interesting.  If my son ever decides to take it up...   

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Re: How to dress child for lessons
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2017, 04:30:45 PM »
I've wondered why more (beginner/younger) ice skates haven't been made with velcro closure?

DANGER - Physics explanation.

Lacing is a pully system. The total force that snugs the boot against the foot is the (vector) sum of the forces across all the pieces of lace across the foot. So 1 or 2 velcro closures can't give you nearly as much total force as, say, 10 or 12 lace crossings, assuming you pull the lace good and tight. (Of course, most people don't know how to pull laces tight.) Laces also give you some options - with a little fanciness, you can isolate the top and bottom tensions and fit.

But I've done fine with velcro closure inline skates. I've also used downhill ski boots that used clip based closure systems. They work fine.

That's because, if you have a fairly stiff boot - not true of most cheap (under $100 - $150) figure skates = and there is some padding inside the boot (or they happen to fit your foot well even without the padding), you mostly don't need a super-snug fit. The amount you can pull with a couple pieces of velcro, or a simple flip-clip is adequate. If you pull very hard on the velcro, it is usually enough even on cheap skates, at least for beginner level skating.

As a person who sometimes gives out rental skates, I would prefer good velcro or similar closure on rental skates, because far too many people have trouble with laces.

Laces and holes are a very inexpensive closure system. As best I understand it, rental boots with velcro (or similar generic brand) closures, or decent quality flip-clip closures, cost a little more. Rinks tend to order the cheapest boots they can get away with. When all is said and done, I think that is the primary reason most rinks get what they get.

BTW, I used one pair of hard plastic rental skates that had the flip-clip closures. Very easy and fast to use, and I liked them. That pair happened to fit my feet fairly well, and they were quite stiff, so that might have been the reason they worked well for me.


Offline robinsnest

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Re: How to dress child for lessons
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2017, 08:37:52 PM »
I would say that if she is not complaining, what you are doing is working great.  Just because when my kids are uncomfortable they will speak up loudly!  They have had pairs of the real Mondor skating pants but currently all are outgrown so they have been wearing fleecy leggings lately and have not had a problem.  Add a long sleeved t-shirt, jacket and gloves and they are good to go.  I also keep extra pairs of gloves, ear bands, and fleece vests in the skate bags in case someone gets cold.  They wear thin skate socks and we don't do legwarmers.  I have found that when my feet get cold, putting an extra layer on my core and/or my head takes care of the problem.

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Offline lljc00

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Re: How to dress child for lessons
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2017, 12:33:39 PM »
Query - thank for the explanation.  Makes sense about more contact points.  But then I was thinking about ski boots, and though there are fewer points, the hard plastic is like one continuous (or two continuous) contact points.  But then, even "beginner" ski boots are a couple of hundred dollars (not even mentioning the weight), and I'm aware that the mass production of and supplying of rentals is a business decision.  I guess if skating was a much more affordable sport/business (big plots of land were springing up in the middle of cities), manufactures might have an incentive to make more/different options.

Robinsnest - I will make sure she's warm in all the other places.  Unfortunately, she wont speak up loudly when she is uncomfortable.  Her brother will, even when it's the slightest of discomfort, and only then might she "tag on" when he's raised the issue.  But he's not on the ice and doesnt want to get on it :-(