Our youngest daughter recently decided she wanted to follow in her sister’s footsteps and started taking figure skating lessons. And, as part of that, she will be participating in her first ice show soon.
Since her older sister has already been in two shows, my wife and I pretty much know what to expect. As a result, while we know it can be a fun experience that lets her show off the skills she has learned, we also know it could be somewhat stressful and even a bit frightening.
In fact, since she is considerably younger (4) than her sister was when she first started, we even thought about not letting her do it. However, it is something she really wants to do and, as a result, we are taking steps to prepare her as much as possible.
First, we are getting her ready for the dark. While she isn’t as scared of the dark as her older sister is, she does still occasionally get nervous when the lights are turned off. And, in the case of the ice show, she’ll be on the ice when the lights are turned off (to allow for scene changes). While, other than dress rehearsal, we aren’t going to be able to prepare her for the on-the-ice part of it, we can still help her understand what to expect when it happens and what to do.
Second, we are working on her independence. Other than a few designated helpers, parents are not allowed in the dressing rooms during the show. And, since they each have different scenes, we aren’t even sure if her sister will be in the same dressing room as her. This means she will pretty much be on her own for about 90 minutes and, as a result, we are making sure she understands what she’ll need to do during that that time (costume change, when she needs to go on, etc.) and are finding activities she can do to keep herself occupied.
Last, we are doing everything we can to prepare her physically. There are a total of four performances over three days and, from experience, we know how much that can drain a young child. To help with that, we’re trying to prep her a bit by establishing an ice show routine early. This means she goes to bed early, needs to nap during the day and needs to eat healthy. We also do the same with her sister, both so she can lead by example and because we don’t want it to take too much of a toll on her either.
As I said before, we know her first ice show will be a fun experience for our daughter. By taking these steps, it will hopefully make the experience even more enjoyable.