I’ve recently had a few holes smashed into the Sheetrock of my hallway. They’re just above the baseboard, about the same height as a skateboard.
Skating is allowed in our house. You will be polite at the dinner table, we don’t have any video games and tantrums will not be tolerated. But rolling the hardwood floors is fair game.
“Like anything with children, if you tell them not to do something, then they’ll instinctively have to do it. And so every morning before school, and every night before bed, I whisper in my two sons’ ears, ‘Please, whatever you do, don’t skateboard. Play a team sport. Fit in. Do what everyone else is doing. It’s easier. You’ll see it requires a whole lot less thinking.’
“And then I strategically place a skateboard in every room of the house,” jokes Chris Nieratko, skate writer/dad/owner of NJ Skateshops.
“As I leave the house for work each day, I reinforce my reverse psychology and say, ‘Remember, boys, no skateboarding!’ By the time I get home from work they have pink hair, tattoos and are skating the ledges in our driveway.”
There are certain choices you make as a parent. And if surfing, skating and snowboarding are your Holy Trinity, you might not worry too much about a grom session in the kitchen. Here are a few tricks to getting the wheels rolling.
Push a skateboard, not your kid
Kids run hot and cold when you try to steer them in a certain direction. When I was 7 years old, I walked around stressed out about George Steinbrenner ruining the Yankees franchise. What kind of a childhood is that? Then one day I realized I hated baseball. I wanted to surf, and skating was a natural extension.
With skateboarding, you just have to present it. You can’t prop up a 2-year-old and start teaching them the fundamentals. You’re just like the Little League dad yelling, “Don’t drop the elbow!” Clearly there’s nothing wrong with organized sports, but let’s be real honest here.
Start on carpet. Your little ripper may start by rolling around on his or her stomach and eventually be pushing off the walls of your house. And then it’s on. Kids’ interests will wax and wane; just keep it accessible. By ages 4and 5 they can start to propel themselves. There are 6-year-old phenoms who can land seven-stair boardslides.
You can start with pretty much any board. Those plastic Penny, Kryptonics and Globe boards are nice when they don’t have grip tape. Might be easier on your walls, too.
The mechanics of pushing a skateboard are pretty advanced for a kid. If you get them gliding along, they’ll eventually want to do that on their own and mimic you. It’s human nature….