Teaching your child to do things for the first time is one of the most satisfying and rewarding experiences you can have as they grow up.
There are a few classic steps that are often known as the iconic stages of watching your child grow up, such as their first steps, their first words, the first time they ride a bike…
But why not add skateboarding to the list? After all, children tend to love skateboards and find them really cool. Your child might prefer learning to skateboard instead of the bike, or you could just do both!
Teaching your child how to skateboard might seem daunting, but it can be a lot of fun for both of you! Of course, the bulk of the process is consistency and days after days of practice, until your child can skateboard like a pro.
But what does the very first day of skateboarding look like? After all, that’s when the learning will start, and that will be the iconic image of teaching your child the basics. After that, you can pretty much set them free to practice as they wish, with you close by to monitor and help them as they need.
To help you out, we’re going to break down that first day of skateboarding into several steps. They’re all very basic and easy, perfect for a fun day of getting introduced to the skateboard and learning to use it in the most basic of ways. So let’s jump right into it!
Step 1: Make sure your child wants to learn how to skateboard
Before you even begin to introduce your child to the skateboard and to begin teaching the basics, it’s incredibly important that you make sure your child is actually interested.
This might seem like an obvious step, but there are plenty of parents out there that pressure their children into practicing certain sports, or into trying out certain things.
Skateboarding needs to be fun. Your child should learn it because he wants to learn it and not because of being forced into it. We’re not going to get into the many negative consequences of forcing a child into a specific interest, but you get the idea: don’t do it.
Besides, if your child doesn’t want to learn how to skateboard, and you insist on teaching it regardless, you’re going to have a very tough time. Children’s attention spans are short enough already, if you take away that very needed spark of interest...you’re doomed. The day will be a constant struggle, and neither of you will get anything out of it except for frustration.
We’re not saying you can’t propose skateboard learning to your child. In fact, it’s good for you to offer different activities, and to offer to teach them yourself. Just give the child the chance to say yes or no. That way, they’ll feel a lot more involved in the process, and they’ll know that they have a say in what they do or don’t learn, which will make them all the more eager if they choose to say yes.
So once your child agrees to learn, and you agree to teach, the fun part begins! Not only will it be a day of learning, but it will also be a great opportunity to bond and spend time together! And with that said, let’s move on to the next step.
Step 2: Safety first! Appropriate clothing and protective gear
Okay, so this second step isn’t quite at the fun part just yet. But before you introduce your child to the skateboard, you need to ensure he understands the importance of safety and protective gear.
You can take a moment to explain why protective gear is needed, and why skateboarding should always be done as safely as possible.
Then you can put on the protective gear, and this is a step that your child will likely enjoy, as it’s kind of like putting on armor before a battle!
There are two main reasons why this step is super important:
- Your child will feel safe and ready:
It’s completely normal if your child is nervous or scared on this first day of skateboarding. It’s something completely new, and they’ll be very aware of the possibility of falling off and getting hurt, which is a good enough reason to be extra wary when starting off.
If you explain the importance of safety in too serious a tone, your child might get even more worried and scared, and might even end up backing out of the skateboard day in its entirety. However, if you explain the importance of safety while reassuring them about it, this step will instead make them feel all the safer.
Put special emphasis on the protective gear, and on how useful it is to keep them safe from injuries. That way, when your child puts on the gear, they’ll feel extra ready and fearless, eager to tackle the adventure of learning.
- It teaches your child about the importance of safety, and will help avoid reckless injuries in the future:
The other thing that teaching your child about safety accomplishes, is that your child will take into account the importance of being careful. It will help avoid them becoming negligent or too daring. It’s important to stress that skateboarding is safe, as long as you practice it safely. Or in other words, don’t be reckless.
With this being one of their first lessons in regards to skateboarding, it’s likely to stick with them forever. In fact, it might even save them from any serious injuries when they grow into their teenage years and are tempted to skateboard in dangerous ways. It’s like your planting a little alarm bell in their conscience that will tell them “no, this isn’t right. I need to skateboard in a safer way”.
The protective gear should include items such as a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and any other you might want to use.
As for the appropriate clothing, make sure your child is wearing something comfortable that doesn’t limit movement. It’s important to be able to move your body freely, so you can focus better on skateboarding itself.
Step 3: Introduction to the skateboard (start on a patch of grass or carpet)
The third step is finally the charm, making it time to get hands-on with the skateboard. We highly recommend you perform this step with the skateboard firmly placed on a patch of grass or carpet.
The aim isn’t to get the skateboard rolling just yet, but rather to get your child acquainted and used to stepping on and off. This is all about your child becoming comfortable with the skateboard and learning how to stand on it properly.
So what kind of exercises should you be doing during this step?
Here are a few basics that will get your child familiarized with the skateboard:
- Standing on the skateboard.
Super basic, we know, but it’s the one and only way to start! Ask your child how he feels when standing on the skateboard.
Your child can then adjust the feet positioning, to ensure he’s standing properly in the middle, where he would get the best balance. Practice this until the foot placement is instinctive.
- Jumping on and off of the skateboard.
This is a great way to practice foot positioning while moving (even if the skateboard is still remaining still). It’s also a great way of learning to get on and off of the skateboard with ease so that it’s completely under control by the time the skateboard actually starts moving.
And as this exercise is being performed while on grass or carpet, your child can jump on and off without any risk of the skateboard moving and causing a fall.
- Leaning backward and forwards.
This is a great way to get your child to get even more familiarized with the skateboard, and how it reacts to different movements. It’s better to get used to moving on the skateboard before the skateboard starts moving with you!
You can also take this step as an opportunity to practice balance, before the risk of falling kicks in. Trust us, taking some time on this exercise will ensure your child is a lot more prepared and will speed up the process once you move on to the few next steps and the skateboard is set into motion.
Once you’ve spent some time with these exercises, check that your child is ready to move on, and then jump over to the next step!
Step 4: Figure out your child’s favorite foot for skateboarding
You could move on straight to practicing with the skateboard, but before you do that, we highly recommend you take a moment to figure out your child’s favorite foot when it comes to skateboarding.
So, what does having a favorite foot mean? It’s essentially figuring out the footing type your child favors and is most comfortable with so that you then know which foot stays on the skateboard, and which will be used for pushing in the next step.
Start by figuring out which foot your child positions at the front of the skateboard, and which is at the back. Or in skateboarding terms, which foot is at the nose (front), and which is at the tail (back).
This is pretty easy to figure out with older kids or adults, as they’ve developed a clear preference over time. But for younger children, the favored foot in sport is usually still undecided or unclear, so it can be quite tricky for them to outright decide.
Instead, you’re going to have to work out which foot they should use in front. To do this, you can run a few quick tests with your child, observing which foot is being used the most.
There are two main tests you can run for this:
- Braille Method:
This method takes a little bit of imagination. Essentially, you have to tell your child to picture an icy road that would be really slippery. (If you happen to have an icy road, you could probably use that as long as you’re careful!)
Then, you tell your child to jump towards the imaginary icy road, and you observe which foot is placed in front. That should usually indicate the foot that your child favors in front when moving, as you would on a skateboard.
- Skateboard Method:
If the Braille method didn’t work, because your child kept switching feet or just wasn’t convinced, you can try out this other method, which is done by using the skateboard.
For this, you simply have to place your child on the skateboard, and then push them forwards and backward on it. Then ask your child which direction they prefer to go in. That will answer which foot they prefer in front, and you’ll have it figured out!
If your child prefers having the right foot in front when going forward, then he’s a goofy skateboarder.
If your child prefers having the left foot in front when going forward, then he’s a regular skateboarder.
Knowing this term will really help going forward within the skateboarding world!
Step 5: Learning to push the skateboard forward
Now that you have the feet figured out, and your child is familiar with getting on and off the skateboard with ease, it’s finally time to get moving!
Learning to push the skateboard forward is the most basic and important move, and everything else will come soon after. Your child might need quite a few tries before getting this exercise down, so take your time and praise each bit of progress!
We’re going to do a little step by step breakdown of this, so you know exactly what to do in order for your child to learn this as easy as possible:
- Have your child place their front foot (as determined in the previous step), on the front of the skateboard, facing forward.
- The other foot will be used to push the skateboard forward. Start off really slow. Tell your child that it’s just like walking, but using only the foot that’s off the skateboard, so more like limping along. Make sure to hold their arms while they’re doing this, to keep them balanced and safe from falling.
- Once your child has gotten used to the mechanic of pushing the skateboard forward slowly, have them place their foot on the skateboard after each ‘step’. Ensure that the foot that’s placed onto the skateboard after pushing is positioned looking outward, and not forward like the other, or your child will be unbalanced.
- Once both feet are on the skateboard, tell your child to move the front foot so that it is also facing outward. Then, get your child to bend the knees, and slowly let them move along without you helping them stay upright.
- Practice this a few times, with your child pushing the skateboard, placing the foot back on the skateboard, and then finding balance. Eventually, your child will be able to do this by themselves!
As your child practices this forward pushing and balance, you can slowly help adjust the foot positioning so that it gets easier and easier.
Children pick up new skills incredibly fast, so don’t be surprised if your child has nailed this step before even half of the day is over! If that happens, you can increase the difficulty by encouraging your child to push the skateboard forward at a faster pace, or even over rougher terrain.
A good exercise is also to make them push the skateboard up a slight hill, as it will build up that pushing power!
Step 6: Time to face the slope! (Easy version, of course)
Now that your child is able to balance on the skateboard, and push it forward in order to move around...why not move on to the more exciting step? Time to face the slope!
For this, look for an easy slope, a proper beginner level one that isn’t too steep. This is just so that your child can practice maintaining that balance on the skateboard while going down a slope until they can do so without falling as much!
There will probably be quite a lot of falling down in this step, but as the slope won’t be too steep, and your child will be wearing protective gear, it will still remain pretty fun! With each new try, your child will build up more confidence, and eventually, you can move on to a more difficult slope.
As for learning to stop...that will come slowly. The best idea is to look for a slope that ends with a nice long plane so that the skateboard will naturally come to a stop. If not, you can always stand at the bottom to block your child from accidentally going too far off into somewhere dangerous.
The only major tip that we can give for going down a slope is to ensure the knees are well-bent and to use the arms for balance if needed. Everything else is just down to gravity.
Step 7: Make practicing fun! Learning together
Although this article is about how to teach your child to skateboard in a day, it’s pretty obvious that a single day isn’t enough to become a pro. After you’ve gone through all the basics and spent a good intense first day of skateboarding, the rest is up to time.
The key is to be consistent. Practice, practice, and more practice. If not every day, then at least once or twice a week. It doesn’t have to be for long, but a few moments of getting on the skateboard and practicing those movement exercises and going down a slope or two will make wonders for your child’s progress.
After the initial hype of that first day, it’s possible that you or your child might lose a bit of interest, or might not be as eager. It can be very easy for the practice to become tedious, especially because it will reach a point in which progress is a lot slower and harder to achieve. The solution? Make it fun!
A great way to get consistent practice is by making it a regular activity that you perform together. That way your child is developing their skateboarding skills, and you’re spending time together outdoors.
One way of doing this is by giving your child a gentle push forward, so they get a headstart. And then you follow behind, turning it into a sort of race or game of tag. You can also race each other when going down slopes, or create different games and challenges to keep that progress going!
What Skateboard should your child use?
A very common question that arises when teaching your child how to skateboard, is the type of skateboard that you should be using. What kind of skateboard is suitable for young beginners? How do you choose the right one?
It might be tempting to just buy the first cheap skateboard that you find at the store, since it’s just going to be used for basic learning. Right? Wrong! A low quality skateboard can seriously hinder the learning process, causing a higher difficulty and causing a lot more possible accidents and injuries.
As your child is just starting out, there’s no need to spend a lot of money on a fancy skateboard. But you do have to make sure that it is of good quality, and of a good make, so that it’s safe and easy to use. Trust us, it will make a whole lot of difference.
This leads to the next question: how do you make sure a skateboard is of a good enough quality? Here are a few factors that you can take into consideration when choosing the skateboard, the more factors it meets to your specific needs and preferences, the best it will be:
- Type of skateboard:
There are many different types of skateboard to choose from. As your child is just starting out, there’s no need to get too caught up in which type or style of skateboarding is the best. Instead, you should aim for a standard skateboard that will be good when performing all the basic exercises. Usually, you will be able to easily find skateboards specifically designed for children that are at a beginner level, and they will likely be a mixture between a standard skateboard and a mini cruiser, as it will allow for the basics at a comfortable pace.
- Skateboard size:
It’s important that you find a skateboard small enough to suit your child. An adult standard skateboard will be too big, and will therefore be a bigger struggle. Children’s skateboards are usually grouped by age groups, so that’s what you should be looking out for.
- Material and design:
There are many different factors and features that determine whether a skateboard design is good or not, and it can vary depending on personal preferences. What’s more important, is to focus on the material being of as high a quality as possible. It’s especially vital for the material to be durable, as your child’s first skateboard will likely suffer from many impacts, falls, and accidents.
- Make and brand:
A good way to find a high quality skateboard, fast and easy, is to look up reliable and well-known brands. You can find them in skateboard stores or online, and you can usually confirm their quality via the comments and reviews from previous customers. If a specific skateboard is popular, that is also a good indicator of it being good, so follow the hints and recommendations, and get your child an affordable but well-built skateboard!
Tips, tricks, and advice:
Teaching your child to skateboard can be done in many different ways, it’s never the same for everyone. Every child and parent will benefit from and use different methods, and the progress will always vary.
People are always full of advice, but ultimately, you should do what works for you and your child, ensuring that it’s always fun.
Nevertheless, here are a few tips and tricks that can come in very handy:
- The younger you spark their interest and get them involved, the better!
The average age recommended for teaching your child to skateboard is around 5 years. You can start skateboarding sooner, but it will then require a lot more monitoring and safety.
However, it’s never too young to get your child involved in skateboarding, whether it’s by letting them watch skateboard you or by getting them interested in videos or skateboarding shows.
- Take it slow and enjoy the process!
Some steps will be harder than others, which can sometimes get pretty discouraging. Your child might lose patience or get frustrated if they get stuck at a certain stage of the learning process. When this happens, reassure them that everything takes time, and remind them of all the progress that they’ve already achieved. It’s important to take things slow and to enjoy each step of the way. If you see them getting especially frustrated with an exercise, take a break and switch to something that they’re good at until they feel good again.
Sometimes, watching other skateboarders can be the best way of learning. If you’re near a skateboarding park or community, take some time to interact with them or simply sit and watch the pros skateboard. It will give your child an image and a goal of what skateboarding will eventually look like for them.
You can also look at plenty of videos on YouTube, with plenty of them giving you tricks and tips on how to skateboard at different levels.
Another great idea is to make your own videos. Record your child making that progress, or make vlogs about it. That can be an extra motivator to get the practice in, and it adds in another layer of fun.
- Become a part of the skateboarding community, make friends!
Relating to the last point, you can become a part of the skateboarding community, even if it’s just by spending some time at a skateboarding park and interacting with other beginners or skateboarders. If your child makes friends that are also learning to skateboard, it can be done together and you can then organize group outings and activities.
This is a pretty long article, so let’s try and sum it all up. In conclusion, how do you teach your child to skateboard in a day?
Well, a child’s first day of skateboarding is super important, and the lessons you choose to teach on that day will likely stick with them forever.
Start by ensuring they understand the importance of skateboarding safely, and then make sure the day is set out for a fun learning process in which your child feels eager and at ease.
Then it’s all about following the different steps to familiarize your child with the skateboard, get them to develop balance, and then test out the skills with pushing forward and going down slopes!
In fact, let’s just give you a summary list of all the steps we covered throughout the article, for your child’s first day of skateboarding:
- Make sure your child wants to learn how to skateboard
- Safety first! Appropriate clothing and protective gear
- Introduction to the skateboard (start on a patch of grass or carpet)
- Figure out your child’s favorite foot for skateboarding
- Learning to push the skateboard forward
- Time to flace the slope! (Easy version, of course)
- Make practicing fun! Learning together
- What skateboard should your child use?
- Tips, tricks, and advice
You might still have plenty of questions or doubts, but as it’s just the start of your child’s skateboarding journey, just remember to take things slow and to enjoy every step.
Both you and your child will gain more and more experience as you go along, and it will be an incredibly fun bonding activity to do together!
Plus, the skateboarding community is full of other children that are just starting out, and there’s plenty of people willing to give you their own tips and tricks.
Gear up, hype your child up, and set out on a skateboard!