Tips for Making Your Kids Into Water Sports Rock Stars
Water sports can be intimidating for young children, but with a few basic teaching techniques parents can help them overcome their anxiety and fears. Successfully introducing kids to water sports at a young age will help them become comfortable around the water and enjoy water sports for the rest of their lives.
- Start with family fun time together in a safe environment: Simply splashing around, jumping in and out of the water, and getting acquainted with the water is a great way to start. Utilizing a stable platform such as a dock, floating mat, or water bouncer in shallow water is a good way for parents to introduce young children to the water and help them feel comfortable. Always have children wear a life vest that fits properly for their comfort and safety.
- Introduce paddle sports: Youth who are familiar with swimming and the water are ready to take on a new challenge with paddle sports such as stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking. Parents should familiarize their children to paddle sports by inviting them to ride along with them, and then when the child is ready, allow them to try it themselves under supervision. As their confidence and skills grow, it is amazing how quickly most kids want to explore the water on their own.
- Move into boating sports: Similarly, present young children to tubing, water skiing, and wake boarding in a gradual manner. Many adults make the mistake of driving the boat too fast for young children --- for instance, for a child less than 50 pounds, suggested towboat speed for a beginner using a water ski trainer is only 10 mph and then when the skier is standing up on two skis, drivers should go only 13 mph. For tubing, drive in a gently curving pattern at 10-15 mph and keep the tube within the boat wake. As with all water sports for all ages, excessive speed is likely to cause injuries, but with children learning to enjoy water sports extreme speed will cause anxiety.