Skateboarding younger than ever
Many babies learn to crawl by the time they're six-months-old. By one year, they’re walking. They’ll be talking not long after that.
At three, it’s time for their first skateboard.
This isn’t the recommended guidance of books on good parenting – yet. But more and more parents are getting their kids into skating earlier than ever before. And some of the results are nothing short of breathtaking.
Like ducks to water
There are prodigies in any discipline. Composers, soccer players, ballerinas and child geniuses may come to mind. But discovering your kids’ innate abilities might be as simple as putting a skateboard in front of them. Many parents find that when it comes to action sports like skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding, some kids just take to them like ducks to water.
In a piece for Men’s Journal, Jon Coen wrote about how he got his kids into skateboarding. He said he started them out on carpet – by presenting them with a board and seeing what happened. “Your little ripper may start by rolling around on his or her stomach and eventually be pushing off the walls of your house,” he wrote. “And then it’s on.”
Coen says development can happen fast. “By 4 or 5 they can start to propel themselves. There are 6-year-old phenoms who can land seven-stair boardslides.”
He also recommends taking kids to the skatepark early in life, to teach them basic awareness and skating posture. Once they get the right feel for it, “that simple pump of the legs is just like the swingset,” he writes.
There are some important questions to ask yourself if your child takes to skateboarding, as more and more younger kids are. These include what kind of board to get for them, how much equipment you can expect to buy, and how to handle some of the other common issues young boys or girls might face while skating.
You might even want to know how to help your kid turn pro.
Go pro little bro – or sis!
Unlike sports with a more traditional development path, like baseball or football, action sports athletes can turn pro at a much younger age. Since skaters aren’t on the same course at the same time, they can even compete against athletes who are much older than they are.
Paige Tobin, a 6-year-old Australian girl is living proof that skaters can go pro at an incredibly young age. She wasn’t born on a skateboard – she started standing up on a board in her garage when she was 2. Her love for skateboarding took off instantly.
According to Neftalie Williams, a USC professor who studies diversity in the world of skateboarding, cases like Paige’s show that skateboarding is “for any age and background” and has become “globally accessible.”
The Olympics are also partly responsible for the sport’s newfound global accessibility, she said. Later this summer, skateboarding will debut as an Olympic sport at the Tokyo 2021 Games.
Competitors there will include 12-year-old Gui Khury from Brazil and 11-year-old Cocona Hiraki from Japan, who became the youngest ever X Games competitors two years ago in Minneapolis. Cocona also became the youngest girl ever to win an X Games medal.
Paige says one of her biggest inspirations is Sky Brown, a British girl from Japan, who was touring the world as a pro skater when she was 9. Sky said she wants “to inspire girls that even if you’re like 3 or 4 you can still do it – just believe in yourself!” She wants other girls everywhere to skate, surf and have fun.
Sky says she started skating when she was “2 or 3” and started surfing at 4. As a young girl, she was surfing waves more than twice her size. By the time she was 10, Sky had already competed as a pro skater in the U.S., Asia, Europe and South America.
When the Tokyo Olympics open later this year, Sky will be Britain's youngest ever summer Olympian.
“My motto is ‘be brave, be strong, have fun, and do it if you love it,’” she proclaims, beaming in eternal youth.
Kids can reach the top levels of skateboarding earlier than they would be able to turn pro in a more traditional sport.
Skating is fun – and good for kids’ health
There are other great reasons to get kids involved in skateboarding too. The skate community is a diverse, accepting environment. Skating can help kids develop confidence and resiliency – and make lifelong friendships.
Skating fosters creativity and courage. It helps with mindfulness and focus, and it has been used as a treatment for ADHD. Kids who skate learn balance, endurance and precision – and they also improve their mental health.
There are an endless number of reasons why you should get your kids into skateboarding – and the younger they start, the better!
Start a new adventure with your kids at DIVERT!
The bond parents form sharing skateboarding with their kids is truly special. It’s a unique journey you can take together – and it might even change your understanding of being a parent.
DIVERT can provide the perfect setting for the experience. Our safe, family-friendly skateparks are staffed with expert guides ready to help you and your kids.
With skating, you can evaluate risks and challenges as they come. You don’t have to take big chances to have a great time. It might be hard to see your kid take a tumble – but remember they are resilient!
As Paige’s mom told CNN, “I just have to hold my breath and keep rolling with it.”Come check out how DIVERT can help you get your kids into skateboarding – they could take to it like ducks to water. Schedule your first session today!