If you’re intent on having your child learn to ski or board, present it in an optional way. “Let them watch the other children in ski school and see how they react,” Mitchell says. “Many parents choose to start with a half-day or a one- or two-hour private lesson. Their first few days aren’t just about learning to ski or ride, but also being with new people [fellow students and the instructor], the new environment and all the new equipment and clothes.”
If you’d prefer to be your child’s instructor, it can be done-although most experts agree that certified instructors may be a better bet. Of course, a lot of ski schools offer private family lessons that will help you get a sense of how to hone your teaching skills. “Obviously, it’s best if parents understand basic skills and have taken lessons themselves,” Schaffer says. “They need to have limited expectations, be extremely patient and use small words and phrases to describe skiing fundamentals.” Above all, never let your child go more than a few feet away from you, or out of your sight, when skiing or boarding. “Children need to feel safe and know that you’re totally focused on them,” Schaffer says, adding that you should limit the lesson time to a half hour to an hour.
Keeping your cool
Perhaps the most important thing to pack on a trip to the snow is your perspective. “It’s important for adults to recognize that skiing or snowboarding becomes just another part of this new environment, rather than the child’s purpose for being here,” Mitchell says. “Understand that no matter how excited your child might be before arriving at the mountain, he may just not be into it when you arrive.” If that happens, there’s nothing wrong with cozying up by the fire, pulling out a favorite book and sipping some hot cocoa together.
Go to the next page to see four family-friendly snow spots…