Spending time outdoors with kids is an often neglected yet entertaining activity. It leaves unforgettable memories in kids’ minds and can be prepared easily. But, if you want to try kayaking, there are some things you need to know beforehand.
Lucky for you, we’ve listed some tips to help set you on the right track. Read on to know what you should prepare before going kayaking with your children.
8 Tips for Parents When Kayaking With Kids for the First Time
1. Plan the Day
It’s a known fact that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail, and kayaking isn’t an exception. You should plan your day carefully before you jump into the water. To do that, start by checking the weather to see if rain and wind conditions are optimal for your trip. It’d be best if you choose a day with no rain and calm wind.
Then, prepare a first aid kit with bandages and antiseptics to be ready in case any unplanned accident gets in your way. Moreover, to avoid cranky children, you should either prepare a lunchbox to take with you or have a plan for a nearby place to eat with them.
2. Choose a Calm Location
If you’re a beginner paddler, you should stick to still waters. These are often small lakes, bays, and calm rivers. You’ll enjoy a relaxing kayaking experience with no waves and strong winds. This will also do well for your kids in case they get queasy from the water’s movement.
In addition, teaching your kids about kayaking in calm waters will benefit them and build their confidence for future adventures. As time passes, they’ll be able to hit more daring waters fearlessly, like ocean kayaking areas.
3. Decide on a Duration
Kids have short and fleeting attention spans, and it’s essential to put that in mind when planning a trip to ensure they have fun. If your children are older, you can plan a longer kayaking trip, but if they’re still pretty young, it’d be better to avoid overwhelming them with a full day on a kayak.
Preferably, you should start small with only 15 or 30 minutes of paddling, then proceed on to take a short break and go on from there. If you do that, you’ll enjoy an adventurous trip without your child getting restless and bored.
4. Plan Your Route
When going on an adventure with your kids, you should keep in mind the fact that they have different needs from us. They need nearby bathroom breaks, restaurants for unplanned meals, and worthy sights to watch.
As a result, you should choose an area you’re familiar with to avoid any inconveniences. For ultimate fun, you should look for areas where encounters with wildlife are expected.
5. Stay Safe
The essential factor to take care of when you go kayaking with your children is safety. First of all, to ensure that you and your kids stay safe during the trip, you should pack personal flotation devices. Any water activity requires that both kids and adults wear PFDs by law.
You should make sure you get the sizes right to avoid any issues while using them. Don’t fall into the trap of buying large PFDs for the kids to grow into.
Second of all, remember to take lines and float bags along with you. They’ll come in handy in unexpected rescue situations, provided that you know how to act properly when they happen.
6. Set Ground Rules
Kids don’t understand risks as well as we do. They tend to act and move normally in activities that require stillness. To avoid any accidents, you should set some ground rules before hitting the waters. Firstly, explain the importance of life jackets and that they’re to be worn at all times with no exceptions.
Secondly, state that standing and jumping aren’t allowed in the kayak without permission first. Finally, tell them that the kayak paddles are used only for paddling; they can’t be used as swords and staffs for pretend play.
7. Pack Appropriate Clothes
You can never expect a child’s movements. That’s why you need to pack extra clothes, preferably water-resistant ones. Those come in handy for adults too, but they’re a must for kids because they’re more prone to getting their clothes dirty and wet from playing around.
We all know how wet clothes can be bothersome for kids, so being prepared will work best for everybody. Also, don’t forget to pack swimming suits if they want to jump into the water.
8. Pack Smartly
Packing the right stuff for a kayaking trip will make your day a hundred times better, especially with kids. You should take care to pack their favorite snacks that preferably contain low amounts of sugar. Moreover, make sure to have water bottles, toilet papers, and wipes along with you on the kayak.
To keep the memories forever, remember to pack a waterproof camera to capture some photos. In addition, take water shoes and rain gear along with you in case of any unexpected drizzles.
To Wrap Up
Children tend to remember the adventures that they went through with their parents forever. One of the most enjoyable outdoor activities that you can try with your kids is kayaking, but it needs some preparation beforehand.
Firstly, you should plan the day well and keep in mind that you’ll need breaks in between kayaking sessions to eat and go to the toilet. Also, remember that it’s better to kayak in calm waters if you have young kids along with you or if you’re a beginner.
Secondly, pack safety gear before you go on your trip because, as stated by the law, both kids and adults should wear PFDs on the kayak. Finally, try as much as you can to enjoy a memorable trip with your children!