Table of contents
1.Get the right gear
3.Teach them the proper techniques
4.Have realistic expectation
Paddle Board with Kids
Most kids would rather stare at a screen than go out and play. Paddle boarding is the perfect answer to this modern-day dilemma--that doesn't involve a glowing screen while getting them to engage with the outside world. Kids can start paddle boarding with an adult as early as 2 to 6 years old. Around age 7 kids are usually just big enough to handle a kid-sized paddle board alone.
Taking your kids, even toddlers, on outdoor adventures is vital to their health and will help contribute to their well-rounded growth to adulthood. Not only will your children have fun paddle boarding, but they will also exercise in the process. And you get to bond as a family too. Here with tips on how to make it fun and safe to paddling with kids and everything you need to know to get started.
Get the Right Gear
When paddling with a child, make sure you choose a board appropriate for the combined weight of you and your child. If your combined weight exceeds the weight of the paddle, then the board can turn upside down. If your combined weight is too light for the paddle board, it will be harder to turn and steer it. Apart from the weight, also choose the proper size for your SUP board.
If the board is too small the ride will be unstable and harder than it needs to be - and that isn’t fun for anyone.
you can also prepare a kids paddle board for your children if they are going to paddle independently. Most adult-sized paddles are too big for children, a paddle board for kids is smaller and much easier for a child to maneuver. Also, adult-sized paddles are too long for children. Either adjust one of your paddles to their height and strength or get a smaller paddle for your child to use.
Personal flotation devices are a must when paddle boarding or doing any water sports for both you and your kids. It can give your child extra safety when out on the water and can save your life in case of an emergency. One of the most often overlooked pieces of safety equipment is the SUP leash. Make sure to strap your kid in. This keeps the current from separating your child from their board.
Flat and calm is the way to go. If the conditions are rough and windy, it will be hard for them and you can never play it too safe. Your child’s first chance at paddle boarding will go smoother if it occurs on flat water as opposed to choppy ocean waters. As calm water makes it easier for little ones to balance sitting or standing. This will also ensure less unknown variables in the situation!
Teach Them the Proper Techniques
If you’re planning on taking your child on your SUP board, you’ll want to be sure that you feel completely safe and comfortable solo paddling. As when you add younger children into the mix, you will have to do all of this and assist them with getting back on too. If they riding independently, your child should have the appropriate motor skill development in order to paddle board without help from an adult.
You could show them how to properly hold their paddle and demonstrate the motions they will need to steer in different directions. It may take a while, but they will get it eventually.
One last thing, we have already established that falling can’t be avoided. But, teaching your kids to fall on the water and not on the board will protect them from injury. Take this opportunity to show them that it’s okay to fall in the water..
The novelty of SUP may wear off quickly for younger children, here are some tips to keep your kiddos entertained during your paddle adventures:
- Make sure you let your excitement shine through. We all know that kids mimic our emotions. If we're stressed, they're stressed. But if we're excited, they often get excited too!
- Continuously teach your kids new facts about the body of water you’re paddling (wildlife, geography, etc.)
- Bring small toys for them to play with
- Consider inviting one of their friends on board as well. Kids are social creatures. They’ll likely have more fun and want to come back again and again if they can bring their buddies along
- Let your kids pick out a cool landmark that they see in the distance so you can paddle and see it up close
Like with any new skill, your child needs to build up confidence. SUP is not so easy for kids, so celebrate the small wins and give a compliment when they do something right. It doesn't take much -- a "you’re awesome" here, and "I can't keep up to you" there goes a long way. This builds their confidence and motivates them to do their best. And they will want to come back another day; which is what you want. If you start to get overly pushy and critical, it will really start to tarnish the fun.
Pass on your love of stand up paddle boarding to your kids and enjoy the water together! Once you and your children are all comfortable on your stand up paddle board, it’s time to adventure!