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  • Read a Mom's Ice Skating Lessons Before You Enroll Your Child

    Spark your child's passion this summer! Figure skating anyone?
    by Aneth Ng-Lim .
To read this story in Tagalog, click here.
  • ice skating lessons for kids

    The author's daughter was 10 years old when she got her first taste of ice skating.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Aneth Ng-Lim

    Name a summer class or sport or hobby, and we’re likely guilty of having tried it during my daughters’ growing up years. We have quite a list, ranging from archery to badminton, watercolor painting to guitar lessons, speed reading to finger math. It seems we’ve been to nearly all sports clubs in Metro Manila, tutoring centers, activity hubs, even museums.

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    Until one summer when we realized the one thing we all enjoy as a family was traveling. So I gave up my helicopter parenting and decided my two girls will enjoy their two-month long vacation as just that, a vacation.  And I guess when there were no pressures of 12 sessions, learning one-on-one or with groups and exploring new skill sets, they were able to breathe and discovered their own passions. My older daughter enjoyed sharpening her debating skills, which have taken her to competitions here and abroad. As for my younger daughter, she fell in love with figure skating.

    Justine Gabrielle first stepped on the ice when she was 10, and I remember her begging for lessons. But I was working full time, and it was that period when I decided vacation time meant vacation time. So I said no. Two years later, I was enjoying a break from corporate life so when she brought it up again, I could only say yes.

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    What you need to know about ice skating lessons

    On hindsight, I should have checked with Google first before I said yes because I soon realized ice skating lessons are quite expensive. (Figure skating ranks as one of the most expensive sports for kids along with hockey and horse riding). We have no regrets though as my daughter learned discipline, sportsmanship and many more as she embraced recreational figure skating.

    This summer, before you let your children dip their toes into ice skating lessons, I put together a list you may find handy. You need to know what you are getting into (and what you will be spending for in the coming months and years). But don’t let this put you off — there’s a reason figure skating is one of the most popular sports in Winter Olympics. Someday we hope to make it there — watching from the audience as the professionals glide their best.

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    1. Ice time will cost you between P160 to P450 each day.

    Ice rinks can be found in key SM malls including SM Megamall, SM Southmall and SM Mall of Asia in Metro Manila, SM Seaside in Cebu, SM Lanang in Davao and SM City Gensan. Ice time is cheaper in the provinces and includes the use of rental skates.

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    2. You’ll need to sign up for private skating lessons with coaches.

    When you’re learning to skate, you need to enroll with accredited coaches in the rink of your choice. Learn-to-skate classes are usually paid in a series. The cost varies depending on your child’s skating level. We had started with Php2,700 for six 30-minute lessons. We now spend Php4,200 for four 30-minute lessons.

    3. Make the switch from rental skates to own skating shoes.

    Serious recreational skaters have their own skating shoes. Justine’s first pair was bought from Amazon.com and cost nearly US $400 (around Php21,000 in today's foreign exchange rate) plus shipping. We waited before making this purchase. Justine had two lesson series, and we sat her down to make sure she understood the cost and will stick with the sport.  There are skaters who opt to get second-hand shoes and some are quite a great deal so consider this too.

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    ice skating competition sm mall of asia
    "This is my daughter doing a stretching exercise before her first competition in SM Mall of Asia in May 2018."
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Aneth Ng-Lim

    4. Dress to impress, I mean to skate.

    You’ll also need to do a bit of shopping for practice clothes that will make it more comfortable for your child as she skates. There are some specialty stores here in Manila, or as other parents do, you can buy online from shops overseas. The temperature in the rink can be pretty cold so your child needs to dress warmly to avoid sniffles.

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    5. Note the testing and membership fees required to skate.

    As your child progresses in figure skating, she will need to take qualifying tests to move to the next level. There are testing fees at the rink so you can also be awarded certificates. In Justine’s case, she is a member of Ice Skating Institute Asia (ISI Asia), which has an annual fee of US$25  (Php1,313). She receives an ISI Asia pin and certificate, which look great in her skating scrapbook, when she pays testing fees for her next level.

    6. Put your game face on. Time to compete!

    There are one to two recreational skating competitions in the country within a year. It’s usually a one- to two-day competition and a great opportunity to meet other skaters, parents, and coaches too. Figure skating coaches charge for extra expenses and lessons related to competitions, plus you will also need to invest in skating costumes.  The more crystals and sequins, the better!

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    ice skating skate asia
    "This was in Skate Asia 2018 in Bangkok back in August. My daughter competed in seven events."
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Aneth Ng-Lim

    7. Explore the world of ice.

    Out-of-town recreational skating competitions naturally have travel costs. This year, for instance, Skate Philippines will hold a competition in SM Seaside Cebu.  Apart from your child’s travel costs, you will also cover the coach's travel expenses plus a daily fee for his professional services.

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    ISI Asia also hosts competitions across the region, and you can join other national competitions like Skate Japan or Skate Malaysia, or go for regional meets like Skate Asia.

    As they sing in Disney’s Frozen, “it’s time to see what [she] can do, to test the limits and break through…let [her] go, and [she]’ll rise like the break of dawn.”

    Are you ready?

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