6 Reasons You Are Your Childs Best Instructor
You have the benefit of already knowing how your child works, what drives them and what triggers set them off! You already know what motivates them, how far they can be pushed and their physical strengths and weaknesses. You may even know their learning style. A good Ski Instructor will spend the majority, if not all of a full day lesson gaining this information about your child, so they can cater the lesson to their individual needs. When children have a different instructor each time they take a lesson this evaluation starts all over again. For this reason, if and when you choose to sign your child up for Ski School, I highly recommend you look for a program that keeps them with the same instructor each time they attend or pay for private lessons and request the same Instructor each time you sign them up. Better yet, teach them yourself so that all their time on snow is spent productively moving them forward in their skills instead of getting to know them and building a report.
You are better suited to prepare them for the risky business of Skiing. We all know Skiing comes with its own inherent risks and though we don’t always like to think of what could happen, this should be a regular conversation with your children as they grow up in the Ski culture. When we leave our children in the hands of an organized program, we limit the amount of risk they are allowed to take. For liability reasons, there are many things your children might ask to do, see or experience that an organized program simply cannot allow or won’t have time to explore. On one hand this seems sensible but, in reality if this is the only experience your child has on snow then they are more at risk for making bad decisions in the future. In Ski School, they may or may not be taught the Skiers Responsibility Code, they may or may not be taught what to do if they get separated from the group or fall into a tree well. As a mother you have more control over exposing them gently to these risks and making sure they have all the understanding and knowledge they will need to make educated decisions while participating in a risky sport.
3. Pocket Book
You know as well as I do that you are embarking on an expensive journey as a Ski family. Luckily there are several ways you can Ski, every season, without breaking the bank. One of the biggest money savers is avoiding or limiting the amount of money you hand over to the Ski School. It’s one of the biggest expenses families come up against, especially if they have more than one child. Most of us can’t afford to drop $600 for our 3 kids to take just one full-day group lesson. Remember what I said above? If this lesson is being taught by an instructor your child has never met before then that instructor will spend most of the day, if not all, getting to know your child so they can cater the lesson to their needs. Yes, they will learn new things but, they may not get as far along as you had imagined. Truth is, this money may be better invested in other ways.
Your child really wants to be with you more than anyone else. True, our children usually respond in different ways (ie. tone of voice) to us than they will an Instructor. I hear Mamas saying all the time that the best choice is to hand them over to an Instructor because their child just won’t listen to them. However, I would argue that more often than not you are passing up a great opportunity for relationship building. If mom and child are struggling to connect and learn together on the hill, all they need are the right tools to calm the stress and increase the stoke. Truth is, the fun environment of a Ski hill is the perfect place for bonding and strengthening communication skills between you and your child. It may take a little extra effort on your part but, you won’t be alone and trust me, come the teenage years, you will be grateful you invested the time.
You’re probably taking your children to the Ski hill for one very important reason. You love to Ski and want to share this passion with your family. Maybe some of your best memories as a child are from days you spent Skiing with your own Mom or Dad and you’d like to create that same experience for you kiddos. Or maybe you’re trying to create a entirely new family tradition. Either way, we are all overbooked these days with work, school , organized activities and trying to fit chores in on top of it all. Catching a break to head to the mountain should be all about family time, not shuffling off to another scheduled event. Even if you need to scatter a few Ski School lessons in here or there, make sure that the majority of your time on the hill is spent together as a family. It’s a fabulous way to leave everything else behind and just be in the moment, together, making memories. Today is the childhood your children will remember.
6. You Got The Skillz!
Most of the time, Mamas are under the illusion that all the instructors they meet at their local Children’s Ski School are experienced instructors, specially trained to work with children. Before I go any further let me just say, I’m not here to dog on Ski Schools. I love Ski Schools, I’ve spent 17 of the last 20 Ski Seasons teaching for them and have met so many good hearted and fun people in the process. Over the years, I have come across a hand full of Instructors who love working with kids, have years of experience working with children both on and off the hill and have even successfully taught their own kiddos to Ski. But, I have to be real with you for a second, these Instructors are the minority and most of them are not teaching in the Children’s Program. Reality is, Ski School’s send their rookie Instructors to teach the kids. Ski Instruction has a high turnover rate so Ski Schools have to go through the process of hiring new Instructors every season. There are always rookies! Some of these candidates have just recently learned to Ski themselves but, as long as they have Intermediate Ski skills they can be trained to teach a beginner lesson. Upon hiring these candidates, most Ski Schools run through just a couple weekends of training before the season is up and running. Most of that time is spent teaching these rookies how to analyze movements and teach a beginner Ski progression. Very little, if any, time is spent talking about the different strategies or challenges of working with children. So with just a few teaching skills under their belt and often no previous experience working with kids, they are shuffled off to teach our most impressionable clients. I share this so that you can gain some confidence in your own skills. If you are an intermediate skier, you are perfectly capable of teaching your child to ski and with just a little bit of training, you could rock it even better than a rookie!