Most paddling parents always want to introduce their kids to paddle sports at the very young age. A few years ago, it was a big challenge to teach kids basic paddling skills due to lack of proper equipment. But with Eric Jackson’s invention of real kid-sized kayaks-the Fun series-kids could enjoy learning how to paddle quite seamlessly. Today, there are many kids kayak manufacturers in the market supplying everything from kayaks to spray skirts, to helmets, all through to PFDs and more.
Over the past few years, there have been significant improvements on the approaches used by parents to impact kayaking and canoeing skills to their kids. Most of today’s kids are wired to learn by doing. That means when teaching your kids how to paddle, you have to get them into the waters to experience the lessons firsthand. You should start with the basics concepts and then progressively delve into the complexities of paddling. It can be great to start teaching them on a pool or shallow waters before venturing into the big waters.
How to Progress
In order to help the kids better their paddling skills you have to work out the same problems over and over at every step of the way. Help them practice maneuvering through pour overs, fast waters, rocks, slow waters, holes and more. It’s important to understand that kids have different learning abilities and fears as well. So you should know when to push them to do better and when not to. Identify the things your kid fears in the water and help him/her overcome the challenge when paddling. Simply let them know you are there to rescue them when the unexpected happens. This will give them greater confidence even when they’re pinned upside down with their kayak.
Basic guidelines to helping your kid acquire paddling skills effectively:
-Don’t push them too hard
-Give them some time before they can put the skill into practice after learning
-Always make the learning process fun by being there in the pool, river or lake
-Teach them by demonstrating
-Don’t limit them to just one type of boating if they’re interested in learning more
-If possible, have other kids around when practicing for peer mentoring
-Be sure to carry along proper gear, especially when going to practice in cold water
-Introduce them to competitive kayaking once they’ve mastered the various kayaking techniques
-Always give them positive compliments to keep them motivated