You know what they say about sports: it's never too early to get the wee ones started. Apparently that's true of dangerous, frustrating water sports too-- stand or sink kid.
We jest. Of course you're not going to tie your three-year-old to the back of your boat without taking the proper precautions. And those proper precautions should probably include Hammacher's Children's Water Ski Trainer.
Look quickly and you'll see an inflatable jet ski, more of a boat-towed inflatable than a water-ski set-up. But, while your child can enjoy a fun, relaxing ride on the floatie, the foot bindings, stable platforms and padded rope allow your child to stand up and ease into a water skiing stance. Someone on the boat holds the other end of the rope so that the minute junior falls, the rope is dropped and your child stays near the inflatable, eliminating the anxiety of being left behind in an open pool of water.
I tried wakeboarding once. Just once. And I really would have loved an adult-sized Water Ski Trainer. Because all I did all day was eat water, land on my ass and sink. I didn't get two consecutive seconds of ride time.
So, do the humane thing and let your child learn before giving her skis. You can pick the Children's Water Ski Trainer up for $170. It should be money well spent. (UPDATE:Hammacher no longer stocks this item. But you can buy the Water Ski Trainer here on Amazon.