With August Bank Holiday weekend nearly upon us many parents will be considering introducing their offspring to sit on kayaking. The forecast is for good weather, generally, so it should be all systems go. Here are Sitons’s top tips to help make it a fun time for both you and your kids.
Choose your put in wisely
Kids need somewhere safe and easy going for their first forays into sit on kayaking. Avoiding conditions likely to cause anxiety (or worse) is essential. When choosing your spot parents need to make sure it’s as safe and as easy peasy as possible. Moving water is a no no, and open water tidal locations should be considered wisely. The last thing you want to do is put your kids off before they’ve even begun.
Keep them warm
Even with soaring temperatures wee ones get cold quickly. One minute they’ll be tearing round like mad things, the next, they’ll be blue. It’s tricky, we know, getting the amount of layers right – especially during warm weather. As much as you don’t want hypothermia setting in you also don’t want them to cook. Layering up is the best course of action. Each garment can be removed or added as necessary. Shorty wetsuits can be a good idea and make sure they have dry kit to change into once the session’s over. Post-session snacks for refuelling are also worth packing in your day bag.
Consider the equipment
A long pointy boat and paddle with extra long shaft may be awesome for those days you head off on touring missions, but your little ones will need something more suitable. Most quality brands have SOTs in their range that cater for the smaller paddler. If buying something specific isn’t an option then consider hiring. There are plenty of activity centres, schools and hire outlets around the country that will have an applicable boat for nippers.
Be ready to can it
Kids know their own mind and sometimes they just don’t fancy getting involved in what mummy and daddy do. With all good intentions some days just won’t work and the more you try to force the issue the less likey your children are going to want to paddle. Allow them to have the choice and if it’s not happening be ready to abandon your session until another time.
Make it fun
There are lots more tips you can serve up when teaching kids to kayak. The golden rule, however, is keep things fun. It’s no good expecting them to be the next Olympic champion when all Johnny or Jilly want to do is jump off your boat. Take solace in the fact they’re getting plenty of water confidence and being around the equipment is stimulus for later down the line. Embrace the fun and laugh with your kids, in time they’ll most likely come to love sit on kayaking.
These are just a few tips to help you and your family on the way to SOT nirvana. Let us know what worked for you and how you taught your offspring to paddle.
Thanks to Islander Kayaks who helped with this article – http://islanderkayaks.com/sit-on-tops/