Even small children can successfully learn to roller skate.

When Can You Teach a Child to Roller Skate?

by Sara Ipatenco

Zipping down neighborhood streets or speeding around an indoor rollerskating rink are likely pleasures you recall from childhood. If so, you probably want your child to experience the same thrill of speed and hours of entertainment you remember so fondly. If you can find your child a pair of skates small enough and she's balanced enough to stay upright, you can teach your child to skate as soon as you're ready.

Appropriate Age

While you probably can't find roller skates for a child just learning to walk, it's possible to locate skates that will fit a 2- to 3-year-old. These versions aren't like adult versions of skates. Instead, they have chunky wheels to prevent your child from tipping over and falling down. They also include fat straps so the skates can be worn over your child's shoes. The age you teach your child how to rollers kate matters less than how ready she is to learn. If she's eager to strap on those skates, take time to show her how to skate safely. If she's less than enthusiastic, you'll probably be wasting your time and may want to wait until your child is ready to follow simple instructions.

Developmental Readiness

No matter how old your child is, assess her developmental progress to determine if she's physically capable of learning how to roller skate. If your child has a hard time with balance and coordination, you should wait a bit longer before starting your rollerskating lessons. If your child is naturally athletic, it might be the perfect time to teach her how to roller skate.

Consider your child's maturity level, too. If your child is ready to learn how to roller skate, she must also be willing to take necessary safety precautions, such as wearing her helmet and gear every single time she skates. She must also show a willingness to take proper care of her skates and gear.


Before teaching your child how to roller skate, know the risks associated with the sport. According to the Safe Kids Worldwide website, 4,073 children were treated for injuries sustained while roller skating. Further, about 14 percent of all bone fractures treated in emergency room departments were because of skating or skateboarding accidents, according to Children's Hospital of Colorado. Without proper gear, roller skating can also increase your child's risk of head injury, bruises, severe lacerations, skinned knees and sprained wrists.

Staying Safe

Incorporate safety lessons into your roller skating instruction. Require your child to always wear a helmet when she's roller skating. Make this rule non-negotiable because helmets are the best way to protect your child's head if she happens to fall down. Knee and elbow pads will protect these areas from getting skinned up if she takes a tumble.

Buy roller skates that fit your child well without being too large or too small. Choose a pair that provides ankle support, too. Give your child approved areas in which to roller skate that are far away from busy roads.

About the Author

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.

Photo Credits

  • David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images