EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Family Skiing Discussions › How to deal with a child who is scared to go back
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

How to deal with a child who is scared to go back

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Ok parents..I need some advice!

We took our daughter skiing with us this past season. For a 3.5yr old she was doing pretty good. Well as I posted before, we had an incident where a boy took out our daughters instructor and the boy laid on the ground screaming and grabbing his knee. I was worried that might be an issue but then she continued to ski, albeit more cautious.

Well we are trying to decide when to go next year and asked her if she wants to go again and she said no. We told her that was fine she could stay home but we asked why? Her response was "Because that boy hit my teacher and he feel down crying"

I'm not sure how to overcome this skiddishness because she still seems excited about the sport of skiing. She shows everyone how to do pizza wedge and fries and tells them pizza wedge slows you down and fries makes you go faster. I think she wants to go but only to ski with me. Which we tried doing the holding onto the pole thing and weren't very succesful. I guess if I learn to ski backwards, maybe that would be better.

In any case, should I just respect her and let this go for a couple years? We tried to reassure her that everyone has accidents and fall down, even mommy and daddy. Yet she says "No I can't fall down" It's like she has made this big expectation that she isn't allowed to fall.

Any advice is appreciated. Maybe some of you parents have had similar experiences?

I know it sounds bad, but I don't want to pay good $$ and have her freak out and end up putting her in daycare. Whereas she would have had a better time at her grandparents.
post #2 of 16
battling the fear of falling is easy; inside another game, push them over and when they are laughing, remind them it doesn't hurt. (That's how I did it when teaching kids to ski and it worked very well.)

Helping your kid get over the trauma of seeing that incident, however, stumps me. Maybe it is that trauma more than the fear of falling that is keeping her from wanting to go again?

In my opinion; whatever you do, don't force her to go skiing. I saw a lot of that as an instructor and have grown quite a despise to seeing it. If you are seeking help here, I wouldn't consider you such a god-awful/wicked step-mother.

I'm going to pay attention to this thread as I am hoping to hear how people deal with those emotional blocades. It's interesting...
post #3 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alliegator View Post
Any advice is appreciated. Maybe some of you parents have had similar experiences?
Well, yes. Unfortunately, I'm also in the middle of mine right now, so I'm interested to hear advice, as well, rather than having any to give.

I took my son (who just turned 3 at the end of February) out at the beginning of March. We slid down a bunch of times in the magic carpet area and finished the day with a ride up the beginner lift and a final run down. He did pretty well and seemed OK with it. He fell a number of times, but nothing that hurt him or seemed to bother him. (I did some side-by-side with a pole, some between the legs, and once or twice by himself on very shallow sections. We did the Mommy, Daddy 'n Me thing at Northstar, where the instructor introduces them to pizza, french fries, the tip lock thing, etc. Frankly, though, I don't think my guy was absorbing the wedge idea, so I mainly just focused on trying to get him used to sliding down a hill.)

I took him out again near the end of March. This time, as we approached the gondola that goes up to the day lodge, he started saying he was scared. He wasn't "terrified" scared, just "mild trepidation" scared. Anyway, we went on up and did pretty much the same thing as before. He was still occasionally saying he was scared and after maybe an hour or so we decided to call it quits. We had to go by the beginner chairlift and he wanted to ride (I'm not sure he understood we had to slide back down). On our way down the hill, another (adult) beginner suddenly cut across our path and we all went down. Nobody got hurt, but he cried a bit.

Now, when I mention skiing, he says "scary" and that he doesn't want to do that. On the other hand, when he sees me looking at ski stuff online or in a magazine, he enthusiastically says "skis!" as he used to do. So it's not like he's hysterical about not wanting to ski, he just seems to have some reservation about it. I'd blame his change in attitude on the fall, but he started with the "scary" bit even before we got on to the hill on the second day. I'm not sure what got into his head. It's the end of the season and I thought about trying to take him out one more time on a family trip, but I think now I'll just wait until next year instead. I don't want to push him too much for fear that'll make him even more resistant to the idea of skiing. His mom, a non-skier, says that she wants to learn next year (this year was out, due to infant little brother), so maybe that will provide an impetus for him to try again (he's no momma's boy, but he does like to have his mother around).

Anyway, thought I'd share a similar experience. I don't know that there's anything to do other than encourage them to try again and provide the opportunity to do so. It sounds like in both cases, having mom there will grease the slide. Anybody else have thoughts regarding our "dilemmas?"
post #4 of 16
Quote:
I know it sounds bad, but I don't want to pay good $$ and have her freak out and end up putting her in daycare. Whereas she would have had a better time at her grandparents.
Maybe take her with the idea of putting her in day care.:

When she gets to the snow, give her the option of day care or ski school. Skiing with you only after ski school is done.

If she would have had more fun at grandma and grandpa's house then maybe daycare won't seem like so much fun and she'll take the leap.

I really don't know the answer, just taking a stab at it.

I like the idea of teaching kids how to fall down and get back up so they aren't so afraid to fall down.
post #5 of 16
What I did with my 3 year old was really role play what happened that was traumatic and really be overly dramatic about it. Then we talked about how accidents happen when we are doing everyday types of things like running. For several days afterwards whenever he fell while playing I was say ask him in a joking voice if he wanted to quit playing forever bc he fell. He of course thought this was silly and would laugh and laugh.

I also ordered some skiing books for him that we read routinely. Here are a few of them:

Do Teddy Bears Ski? by Rick Sanger

Ollie's Ski Trip by Elsa Maartman Beskow

I Can Ski
by Melanie Davis Jones

First Tracks by Johnny Boyd and Jeff Teaford

Camels Don't Ski by Fransesca Simon and Ailie Busby

Lastly, we made a mini scrapbook together with all of his pictures of him skiing. We look at almost daily and talk about all the fun times that he had and what great times we are going to have next season!
post #6 of 16
Good advice so far, guys. The only thing I'll add, in a vague sense, is to take things slow. Consider starting the child skiing again in your backyard (or some other non-ski resort setting), skiing only with Mom and Dad or other family members, etc. Trekchik's idea of daycare with the option of skiing is another good one.

For older kids, I'd suggest renting a ski movie and letting them see some of the crashes that professional skiers take (and get back up from). The idea is to let her know that crashing, while not always fun, is a part of the sport.
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the hints. I think we will end up taking her regardless. She didn't want to leave her baby brother again, so if we take both and she does have to stay in the daycare, they will be together.

I like the idea about them falling. Both her and her brother like to rough house and she seems to get a ton of bruises because she falls or is jsut reckless, but rarely cries. Just falls and get's up and runs again. So maybe next time she takes a face plant, I can reinforce the point about it not hurting and how's it's just like when you fall on skis.

I will also investigate the books. She loves to read (be read to) books. So maybe that will help as well.

I just don't want to force her but I get mixed signals. If we could only get in the mind of a child I really try to listen to what she is expressing so I can get to the root of it. I get the impression she will go with me but not necessarily an instructor. She wants to make snow angels again and throw snow balls. So maybe if she eases into the snow thing, she will be ok.
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by trekchick View Post
I like the idea of teaching kids how to fall down and get back up so they aren't so afraid to fall down.
Honestly, I don't think any kid who likes to ski (or play in the snow) is afraid of falling down. Most of them even do it just for fun, regardless of skill level. Crashing, which doesn't happen at low speed, or getting hurt on the other hand is a different story.

However, I'm not talking about a 3 yo here. One has to remember not to read too much into what a kid this age tells you. When they say they are scared, they probably are, but most likely for a different reason than what they are expressing. It may be an excuse for something else (say being left by you, or not being able to keep up, etc.) or purely just being able to tell you. I'd say for the parents, just let it go for now and come back to it next season (which probly is the next time you ski anyway). There's a huge growth in maturity between when they are 3 and they are 4 (or 5). If same thing happens again when he/she turns 6, maybe it's time to bag trying.
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by iskitoofast4u View Post
For older kids, I'd suggest renting a ski movie and letting them see some of the crashes that professional skiers take (and get back up from). The idea is to let her know that crashing, while not always fun, is a part of the sport.
IMHO, that probably doesn't work well. Most kids I know at a young age (up to teenager) are not interested in watching other people (even pros) doing stuff they love to do. No matter the sport. They are not like us adults who would glue ourselves to a TV or take time out to attend a ball game for "fun". If they do it (or like doing it), it's likely a social thing, i.e. sharing time with friends or family. It doesn't stop us to pretend that they enjoy being a spectator though.
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by chanwmr View Post
IMHO, that probably doesn't work well. Most kids I know at a young age (up to teenager) are not interested in watching other people (even pros) doing stuff they love to do. No matter the sport. They are not like us adults who would glue ourselves to a TV or take time out to attend a ball game for "fun". If they do it (or like doing it), it's likely a social thing, i.e. sharing time with friends or family. It doesn't stop us to pretend that they enjoy being a spectator though.
It depends on the kid, IMO. We play ski movies inside in the morning, and often have to tear our 4-7 year old's away from the T.V. once it's time to get classes out the door.
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alliegator View Post
I really try to listen to what she is expressing so I can get to the root of it.
If it has more to do with just skiing (like say there's a pattern displayed elsewhere, like school, ballgames, grandma's etc.), then I say it's probably a good idea to find out the root cause. If it's just skiing, I wouldn't kill myself digging. Because even if and when you do have the real answer (which is not likely), she'll probably out of that phase and move on.

BTW, looking towards next season, try to take her to a good skiing school for lessons. Smugglers' Notch and Okemo in VT are two good choices. I highly recommend the first one myself because of personal experience and the number of kids they go through with their 5-day programs each year. Have seen very little crying through the 10 years or so we're there. Can't say the same about the other schools that we've been to (including the one I briefly worked at) And, Smuggs have a super day care and private sitting service if you need them.
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by chanwmr View Post
.One has to remember not to read too much into what a kid this age tells you. When they say they are scared, they probably are, but most likely for a different reason than what they are expressing.
My thoughts exactly. With my son, I get the impression that it's something else other than the skiing itself that causes him concern. I'll also bet that by next year he's forgotten or gotten over whatever that was.
post #13 of 16
At that age their experinces have basic needs to be considered. The feeling of safety and comfort Which are realized by fear and questions in their minds. Play in snow without skiing. Let them experience the feel and structure of being on snow. Help them build positive experiences that connect with on snow play.
Make snow balls, slide on the snow together. Make sure they are comfortably dressed and insulated. Lay on the snow and let them throw snowballs at you. Pretend you are falling and when you both are laying on the snow discuss how soft it is and that it is cold but falling is kinda fun.
Positive experiences with make them curious about other factets of being on snow(Skiing ,Snowboarding)
Have the child watch others ski and play on the beginner slopes and note to them that everybody falls but rarely ever get hurt. Don't even use the word hurt, pain or anything negative. When they see others fall and get up and often laugh about it they will see it is just a part of being on snow because it is sliippery. I ask the very young "what do we do when we fall down?' We get back up again.
Your child is just young but has a very clear idea of their fears and their perceptions of danger.
Good luck . This is very common and not pushing them and enhancing a positive sensation to the mountain experience will get them on skis in the shortest order. If they don't have fun when they come and don't feel safe doing it they won't want to participate.
post #14 of 16
Just don't let the kids stay at home.They'll miss all the great socializing that goes on at a ski hill.Day care is a great idea.Perhaps you could try and get her out on snowshoes or x-country skis,just to get her back on the snow.Does your hill have an inner tube park?I realise that she may be a bit young for that,but as long as you can get her back on snow,and have it be a positive experience,she'll come around when she is ready.

good luck!!
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Well we live in Florida, so there is no snow to be had here

I think what we are going to do is take both children, eventhough our son will only be 2, we will stick him in daycare. Then let our daughter have her choice. I think the first day we go back to Deer Valley, I will try and find a public park and playground. Let the kids play in the snow/rough house etc and take it from there.

I'm going to get some books as minlou suggested. They looked pretty cute and I think she will enjoy them. Then if she wants to ski, she can ski and if she wants to hang with her baby brother, then she can do that. Her and her brother are super tight. So she will have a partner in crime regardless of what she decides.

I'm giving up on deciphering her logic. Last night she said she wanted to ski with her ski instructor from Deer Valley and she would beat me down the mountain.: Afterall this is a 3.5yr old I'm talking to. So as others said, I will quit analyzing and just take them all and have a good time. I know with her brother there, they will both have a blast...ski or no ski.

PS..If anyone in Park City or Deer Valley know of any public parks/play grounds in that area..please let me know.
post #16 of 16
I say, by next season she will likely be ready to go... there's a good shot she'll forget what happened, and won't have any issue....

You have a very smart child if she incorporates another kid getting hurt with a chance of her getting hurt... most kids that age really don't make that connection. Here's an idea:

Tell her that the clothes she is wearing is magic, and while they won't keep her from falling, they'll make the falls not hurt. It's a lie, of course, but it might work...

Or promise that you won't let her get hurt. She should trust you... and learn to ski backwards.... The secret to skiing backward is maintaining lateral and fore/aft balance... The biggest problem when people start to ski backwards is that they turn to see where they are going and it causes them to weight the other ski to turn. You have to learn how to look behind you without causing yourself to learn... I don't know your ability level, but keep that in mind.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Family Skiing Discussions
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Family Skiing Discussions › How to deal with a child who is scared to go back