When Can Kids Start Skating

Only you can determine when they're ready

Little boy wearing roller-blades.
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Many parents think inline and roller skating activities are only for school-aged children or older. But skating in any form can be a good fitness, fun and social activity for young skaters between the ages of three and six, too. 

Is Your Child Ready to Skate?

Inline and roller sports skating activities require balance and strength as well as some judgment and the desire to avoid obstacles. Some small children don't have these skills yet. When making a decision as to whether your child is ready to learn to skate, consider your child's:

  • Physical strength and stamina
  • Activity level in other areas
  • Ability to balance in other simple activities
  • Coordination in other activities
  • Maturity or attention span

Most parents will know when to introduce their young ones to roller sports. Some parents who skate will put their children on skates right after they are walking confidently. Children as young as three years old may be ready to skate, and there are many daytime skating sessions at roller rinks around the country that cater to pre-school skaters and their parents. Many of the ice, inline and roller skaters who have become world-class competitors started skating as toddlers and grew up thinking of skates as an extension of their own feet. 

Getting Started with Skating Lessons and Sports

If you are looking for instruction or organized sports activities, a good age to start pre-school inline or roller skating lessons is about three or four years old. Since the motor skills, coordination and attention span of a three-year-old won't get through a normal 30 to 45-minute beginner class, most pre-school skating group sessions offer a 10 to 15-minute mini-lesson for parents and kids with fun and games before and after the learning segment.

Most five or six-year-olds (school-age children) are certainly old enough to inline skate. It is a good idea to have them take one or two beginner class sessions to prepare them for safe participation at school, church or birthday skating parties even if there is no interest in specific inline disciplines or quad roller sports. By the time they reach these ages, even if they lack a little strength or stamina, it will develop as they learn.

Roller Skating Can Warm Kids Up for Ice Skating

Some ice skating families start their very young children at a warm roller skating rink that provides locked roller skate wheel options for toddlers and preschoolers. In addition to being warmer, the little ones avoid wet, hard falls and there are fewer tears. After learning to stand, fall, march, glide and play games on inlines or quads, a switch to ice is easy.

Finding the Right Skates for Your Children

If you decide to make inline skating a regular family activity, your child will need good skating equipment with a similar level of support, durability, quality and wheel set-up features that an adult would need for a comparable level of inline skating or a comparable discipline. There are many affordable adjustable inline skates for kids that can be stretched a few sizes to grow with your little skater. Adjustables can be purchased online, at a local rink pro shop or at some sporting goods stores. If your child is in a group skating class or private lesson training program, be sure to speak with the instructors or coaches before purchasing new or used inline skating equipment.