When you are dressing your child in the locker room, the skates should be put on after the base layer, skate socks, shin pads, hockey socks and pants are on – see our video on How To: Dress Your Child in Hockey Gear the sequence of putting on the gear.
Here are some tips for tying your child’s skates:
With your child seated on the bench, start by preparing the skate – loosen the laces until they are slack and pull the tongue over the laces to open the skate as wide as possible so your child can slide their foot in easily. You don’t want to force the foot into the skate as this can stretch the heel pocket of the boot.
Once their foot in the skate, ask your child to push down while you push upwards against the sole of the boot to secure the heel lock. Most young children are unable to effectively hit the heel of the skate against the floor to do this, so it is best to apply pressure upwards to get their heel positioned properly.
Push the tongue back into position on top of the foot, making sure that its edges are under the lace holes, and it is lying straight.
Many parents find that they can best tie the skate if they stand in front on their child with the child’s leg extended, and place the blade of the skate between their legs to hold it steady. You can then lean over the skate and begin the tying procedure.
Starting at the toe, snug the laces just enough to take up the slack, so that you have enough length by the time you get to the top of the boot to thread the laces through the top eyelets.
From the top laces and going down towards the toe, gently loosen the laces in preparation for tightening and tying. By loosening the laces a bit first, you will have enough room to slip your fingers through to allow you to effectively grip the laces and put some pressure on them for the next step.
Starting near the toe, put your thumbs on each side of the skate beside the eyelet you are going to tighten – this will create leverage so you can pull the laces tight. Use your forefinger and middle fingers to grab the lace and pull downwards. By pulling the laces downward instead up over the skate, you will wrap the sides of the boot over your child’s foot for a true, snug fit. Continue for each eyelet, working your way to the top of the skate.
Heel lock is achieved by ensuring the top eyelets are tied very snugly. This prevents the heel from moving in the skate, and is important so that your child has control as well as reducing the chance of blisters from friction. See our other tip for tying your skates for heel lock.
Once you are on the last lace, put your thumb on the point where the laces cross each other and apply pressure so the laces don’t loosen as you make a bow, much the same as you would tie your shoes. Take the resulting loops and knot once more to keep your bow in place
Your child’s skates are now secure and you can continue dressing your child’s upper body with their neck guard, shoulder and elbow pads, jersey, helmet and mouth guard, gloves and stick.
Check out our tips on how to dress your child and how to pack their hockey bag for new hockey parents, and visit your local Source For Sports location for a demonstration on how to tie your child’s skates.
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