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Old 12-10-2012, 03:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Taking My 3 Year Old Out For Lessons.

I am taking my son out for the first time this weekend to teach him how to ride. I am excited to pass on my knowlege to the little guy. I've taught many adults to ride but never a toddler. I want this to be enjoyable for him and I don't want him to get turned off. I bought him a Burton After School Special 100cm (he's tall for his age) for his birthday. I'd like to think I know everything but I don't. I really could use some advice. Here's what I've done so far to prep him:

1) Last winter I had him slide down a gentle slope by the house with an old Premier snowskate (with some hand holding from me)

2) Dry runs in the house with his new board. I had him strap in and jump around with the board on his feet to get comfortable with his feet attached to a board. He jumps around fine but has a hard time getting back on his feet when he falls on his butt. Pretty sure this will be excacerbated on the snow.

3) He has seen me board a few times last season. And I've made it a point to where a helmet, pads and goggles so that he can see its normal to wear protective gear.

He is like most toddlers. If something scares him, he will be reluctant to do it. But when he does, he can't get enough.

The resort we are going to put up a toddlers run last year. It has a real gentle slope to learn on. If anyone has any advice they can give me I would greatly appreciate it.
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Old 12-10-2012, 03:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I haven't taught my kid to ride yet because I started him on skis first, so I can't give any technical advice, but just some general stuff.

The biggest thing is to just make it fun and add some stuff to the experience that makes it fun besides just riding (i.e. hot chocolate afterwards or a mini snowball fight as a break).

When my son first started on skis at 3 he enjoyed it but lost interest pretty quick when he got tired. Part of me wanted to convince him to keep going since we made the trip up to the mountain, but it was better to not push it and just ensure he enjoyed his time at the mountain even if he didn't ski a ton at first.

If you can, get a little video of him riding. My son loved, and still loves, seeing videos of him on the hill. It's good to reinforce how much fun he had and motivate him for the next time.

That's all I got. Have fun and good luck!
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Old 12-10-2012, 03:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by schmitty34 View Post
I haven't taught my kid to ride yet because I started him on skis first, so I can't give any technical advice, but just some general stuff.

The biggest thing is to just make it fun and add some stuff to the experience that makes it fun besides just riding (i.e. hot chocolate afterwards or a mini snowball fight as a break).

When my son first started on skis at 3 he enjoyed it but lost interest pretty quick when he got tired. Part of me wanted to convince him to keep going since we made the trip up to the mountain, but it was better to not push it and just ensure he enjoyed his time at the mountain even if he didn't ski a ton at first.

If you can, get a little video of him riding. My son loved, and still loves, seeing videos of him on the hill. It's good to reinforce how much fun he had and motivate him for the next time.

That's all I got. Have fun and good luck!
Thanks Schmitty, Those are great suggestions. Definitely bringing the video camera and the helmet cam.
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Old 12-10-2012, 06:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Have fun....reverse situation....my 18 yr old daughter (we learned to ride together 10 years ago), anyway she just took me out for my first bc splitty adventure...she was very patient, kept it positive, just gave me pointers, didn't get frustrated and we had a blast.
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Take lots of breaks, focus on fun, expect to only get a little time on the hill. Don't get too far away from where you start, turn back while the kid is still fresh so he's still got some gas for the walk from the bunny hill back to the lodge for that hot chocolate.
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I have taught kids and the number one thing you have got to do is make it play time. They can`t deal well with goal oriented training. It can be frustrating for a parent who wants to get their kiddo from point A through B,C and D to point E. That will suck the fun out of riding for the kid.

Understand that a kid will not and physically can not manipulate a snowboard the way that an adolescent or adult can; they have not developed the core muscles. They use whole body movements to control their board so understand that the correct body movements for an adult will never apply to them. They generally do not bend at the ankles and knees like we do and the concepts of using their feet independently to twist the board can be difficult for them. You will see a lot of rotary movements as they try to steer their board. When trying to improve them, don`t tell them to do the movements we use; they can`t and it will frustrate them.

A movement they can understand and actually perform in inclination. That is simply leaning back and forth on their toes and on their heels. Use this movement to get them to feel that as they pressure the heel and toe edge of the board it turns. This is big and when the kid experiences this aspect of control they will feel a sense of accomplishment. Along this line, kids generally love the freestyle aspect of snowboarding if they have any interest. Don`t be afraid to make a little pile of snow and let the little guy jump off of it. You wont believe how big of a thing catching 3 inches of air off of a "jump" is to a kid and how it stokes them. Let the kid explore things like this a little bit. Even if they cant turn the board or do anything but stay upright on it, make a little tiny ramp and let the kid fly off of it (obviously maintain good safety surroundings). They always giggle and laugh when the do even a tiny air.

The biggest problem you will likely face is that the kid will, once he gets used to staying on the board, go really fast without turning until he crashes. I see this with 90% of the kids I have worked with. Your biggest challenge will be getting the kid to learn how to stop and to pay attention to his surroundings. This is the one "task" that you do have to make sure your kid learns and understands the importance of. It does not have to be a boring drill, but before you can let the kid do more unassisted riding, they have got to be able to at least make a panic stop and know when to do it.

Again, because kids at this age have not refined precise motor skills, the stopping is going to be a massive rotary movement to spin the board across the hill to stop. Really focus on teaching the kid to lean back a little when they do this so they do not catch their toe edge when stopping. Just expect them to fall on the bum when they do a stop because again, they have not really refined that control yet. Falling like this really does not bother kids at all from what I have seen. Just stress that they need to be ready to do this if they are about to hit something or someone.

A great game for the kids when teaching them how to stop is "Red Light Green Light". You position yourself below the child on the gentle run and the game is that you are the traffic light. When you say green,m the point the board down the hill and go. When you say red, they turn the board and stop. Make it fun and give them a little reward for "not running the stop light".

Try to make each drill in learning a new and fun game. Kids generally have short attention spans so keep moving on to new things. Only spend about 5 minutes doing the same thing and move on to something new. It is all about play with kids this age.

If you have one, a Hula Hoop is an awesome training aid for teaching little kids. You can use it to ride together with the kid hanging on one side and you the other. They can also ride inside of the hoop and I have found there are many fun games for the kids you can come up with by using it.

Above all, make it fun and don`t set goals that the kid has to try to accomplish because if the goals are not met, some kids get frustrated with themselves and the activity. Take frequent breaks from riding and just play in the snow. Throw snowballs, make a snowman, whatever and also be sure to take plenty of inside breaks. I have found that kids can get cold quicker than adults and they may be afraid to say something. Keeping the kid warm and happy is a huge factor in their overall experience and can make or break them as far as pursuing the sport.
Thanks Snowolf! That is a wealth of info. Patience is the name of the game.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wrathfuldeity View Post
Have fun....reverse situation....my 18 yr old daughter (we learned to ride together 10 years ago), anyway she just took me out for my first bc splitty adventure...she was very patient, kept it positive, just gave me pointers, didn't get frustrated and we had a blast.
Very cool. I hope my boy takes me split boarding when he's old enough. Hopefully, I'm not dead or crippled by then LOL

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Originally Posted by Lamps View Post
Take lots of breaks, focus on fun, expect to only get a little time on the hill. Don't get too far away from where you start, turn back while the kid is still fresh so he's still got some gas for the walk from the bunny hill back to the lodge for that hot chocolate.
Thanks Lamps. Luckily for me Alpine Valley in WI put up a toddler ski area right in front of the lodge. This kid is gonna live on hot chocolate and snickerdoodles this weekend.


The kid is stoked about going he keeps asking me about it every day.
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Old 12-19-2012, 06:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I would just like to tack on a few things to what snowolf said (which was excellent by the way) and yes FUN is the only important thing here (well after safety)

1: be prepared for a very short day, and thats ok!
2: Keep in mind maslows mountain, it basically says that if the base needs are not met, we will not learn. so too cold, hungry, scared... etc fix that before anything else
3: one thing some kids like, and you will now better than me for your kid, is falling, they find it hilarious. Where i teach we have a surface conveyor that takes you up a very mellow hill, and some of our youngest kids LOVE falling into the fresh snow on the side of the groom. How does this help you? Start them in the middle, then you lead by turning into the fresh snow and falling and laughing, if they follow, they are learning to turn, and laughing!
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Old 12-20-2012, 07:39 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks Bear. Good ideas.

Hoping to get him out by Christmas. Mother nature is finally cooperating.
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Old 12-27-2012, 01:02 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Just a follow up. Got my boy out to the slopes finally and I would say it was a fairly successful outing. I kept it very light hearted and let him set the pace. He would go down the hill about 3 or 4 times then tell me he was done. I would them unnstrap him and let him play in the snow. Then a little later he'd decided he wants to ride some more. I was amazed how well he was able to stay up. After a couple rides he kept demanding I let go of him and let him ride without my help. Very proud of the little booger.

After he was done we went into the lodge and he enjoyed some hot chocolate and snickerdoodles.

Thanks so much to everyone for the good advice.
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Old 12-27-2012, 01:25 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Snowolf View Post
You wont believe how big of a thing catching 3 inches of air off of a "jump" is to a kid and how it stokes them


um...Im almost 40 and I get pretty damn stoked on 3 inches of air then again Im a midget so that's like half my height...


thanks for the tips. Im gonna be teaching a 7 year old soon. He skateboards and does Aikido weekly so that should help. However we probably have zero acess to snow until we get to the resort. Any dry land 'games' I can start him with or just have him keep skateboarding?
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