If you are a keen kayak paddler, then you probably cannot wait for your kids to join you on the water. But how young is too young for you to start teaching your kids the basics? There are a few answers to this, one is if your kids can swim, and the other main issue is whether you are a good enough a paddler to teach them? Above all, even before your kids get into a boat, they must be taught the basics of water safety. Ensure your kids are fully kitted out with every safety item that is available. This is not being OTT, it is simply being sensible, if your child feels secure then he is more likely to be confident.
The most important items are water shoes, sometimes referred to as PFD’s. These are highly important as they give traction in the slippery boat and will help your kids move about without slipping over. The clothing they wear should also be waterproof and properly fastened.
Be a Model Teacher
The best teachers lead by example, and although you may have picked up a few bad habits over the years, you must remember that your kids will be following your exact actions. The first lesson should be nowhere near the water, it will get them familiar with the kayak and prepare them of what is to come. Out on the water somethings cannot be taught as it is a real-life situation. But on land there is no risk of flipping over and the kids can get used to things like holding the paddle and the basic strokes. At this point you need to instill some golden rules like not standing up in the boat.
Give Your Kids Confidence
Put your kids at ease when they first venture out on the water, if they are petrified to move then you have been too cautious. Give them a little slack to explore, and you will soon be able to tell if your kids are under control or if they are going to go wild. They need to be at one with the water, let them touch it and feel part of nature.
The Forward Stroke
As a kayaker, you will know the most important stroke that you use eighty percent of the time is the forward stroke. To start teaching your kids you first need them to understand how to grip the paddle. Perhaps place your hands on theirs and guide them through the process. Apart from teaching your kids the rudimentary basics of how to kayak, you can also enjoy the time spent with your young ones. Parent-Kid teaching is a great way for families to bond, and with your kid sitting on your lap as you teach him the forward stroke can be great fun.
If you have successfully managed to teach your kids how to handle a kayak, then the whole family can now go out and enjoy the water. At this point it is time for you to loosen up and give your kids long enough rope so they can go and explore for themselves.