Most indoor ice skating rinks maintain a temperature between 45 and 60 degrees, depending on the temperature outside. When you are dressing your child for ice skating lessons or free skating at the ice rink, your first challenge will be warmth.
Skaters will be exercising strenuously, so it is important to dress your child in thin layers that can be removed easily as their bodies warm up. Avoid dressing your child in a bulky winter coat, as heavy coats make it difficult to move freely. A warm turtleneck under a warm, close-fitting sweater will keep your child warmer than a winter coat, and will permit free movement.
Many girls want to wear a skating dress. If you plan to have your daughter take lessons, then a simple skating dress and tights may be a good investment. However, if she is simply going to skate recreationally now and then, this might not be an investment you want to make.
Close fitting sweat pants or zipped wind pants are good choices for both boys and girls. Jeans do not have much ability to stretch, they easily absorb moisture, and they are very slow to dry, which makes them a less optimum choice for skating.
One of the most important parts of your skater’s wardrobe should be a comfortable pair of thin, seamless socks. A sock with seams can rub against the foot and cause blisters. Because skate boots are designed to be tight, thick socks can squeeze the foot and reduce circulation, which will make your child’s feet feel cold more quickly.
If you child will be renting ice skates, bring along a thicker pair of socks to wear over the thin pair to provide extra padding in case the rented rink skates don’t fit perfectly or are well-worn.
For several reasons skaters should always wear gloves. Gloves obviously will keep a skater’s hands warm. They also provide some protection in case of a fall on the ice or if another skater runs into a child who has fallen.
A warm wool hat will keep your skater’s head and ears warm. Avoid any head covering that could impair your skater’s vision. “Hoodies” or parka hoods should be avoided.
For the same reason, skaters should never wear scarves, which can obstruct vision or catch a skate. Many rinks prohibit any kind of scarf on the ice.
Girls should always have their hair pulled back or restrained, so that it cannot get into the eyes.
Avoid letting your skater wear jewelry. Most rinks prohibit any kind of jewelry, which can break and fall onto the ice and trip another skater.
And finally a note to parents of boys: Boys will be extremely uncomfortable if they are asked to wear white skates. If you have inherited a pair of white skates that fit your boy, either dye them black (black shoe polish will also work, but it can be messy), or cover them with black skate covers. Your son will skate much more confidently if he “fits in” with the other boys at the rink.
If your child will be taking ice skating lessons, you can observe what the other students are wearing before the first lesson and talk to the coach about appropriate clothing for lessons.