There are probably a million ways to teach a child how to sail and/or race, but parents must take into account the golden rule that the first step of the learning process is to evoke emotion. If your child doesn't like sailing he or she won't want to learn. Creating a fun and safe environment in which to learn will ultimately lead to a positive experience and possibly even a love for the sport. For preparation, there are a lot of things need to be cared of including necessary for sailing. Best sports Bluetooth headphones also should be prepared to have an interesting time with your family.

Enjoy Your Sailing Time

If that was all there was to the process, sailing programs nationwide would be packed full of eager, confident, fearless children with visions of Olympic medals and round-the-world cruises. Since that's not quite the case, we decided to ask some experts for advice. They gave us a list of "Do's" and "Don'ts" for parents who are introducing their kids to the sport of sailing. The more we've looked at the list, the more we realize their advice is both universal and invaluable for every parent.

What Are “DO'S” things?

  1. Discover the wonders of the marine environment with your child. Boat yards, sand flats, stormy beaches, maritime museums or aquariums, books, videos, row boats, and other boats are some of the places you might visit/share with your child to instill a love of the water.
  2. Teach your kids to swim as infants and share the joy of playing in the water with them.
  3. Learn about sailing. There are a few good books on the market for non-sailing parents. These can be invaluable guides in helping parents to understand the sport of sailing and the activities your kids will inevitably undertake.
  4. At a younger age, racing isn't that important. First try to instill a life-long love of the sport and the water. If swimming and playing is important--then let 'em do it.
  5. Enroll your child in a good sail-training program. Your child will benefit from instruction and from the social interaction. Let the coach/instructor do the teaching. If you want to be helpful, ask the coach/instructor for guidance on just what you could be doing.
  6. Make sure the sailing program is organized and has a good safety record/procedures, mature/experienced instructors, certified staff (instructor certification, CPR, first aid, motorboat), and proper curriculum.
  7. Student/Staff ratio should be 6:1 for the very young beginners and not much higher for older beginners.
  8. Be positively involved with your child's sailing program and be a help to the program in any way possible just ask the organizers/instructors how you can help!
  9. Encourage your kids to be responsible for their stuff. It's OK for parents to be involved rigging boats, but don't let them get off scot-free. Let them learn teamwork while, rigging, loading, and unloading boats.
  10. Provide your child with a comfortable type III PFD. It's worth spending the extra money on one that your child likes and is comfortable with. If the child is uncomfortable in it and embarrassed about wearing it, he or she will not have a positive sailing experience.
  11. Let your kids experience boats in a non-threatening environment to spark some interest and let them become comfortable with it. I put an Opti on my front lawn and rigged it. I did it on purpose so the boys could see the boat and play with it. They got sleeping bags, teddy bears, and coolers and slept in the boat. A guy walked by and asked what we were doing, and the kids replied, "We're sailing to Chicago" They had everything they needed to go sailing. My neighbor thought I was out of my mind.
  12. Let your children develop their own boundaries, and let them push beyond them when they're ready.
  13. If your 14-year-old doesn't want to sail anymore you should notice the signs that they're not happy. It's not usually abrupt. The challenge is for parents, coaches, and instructors to notice this, engage them early on, and try to remedy the problem. Explore new possibilities. They could be in the wrong size boat. Some kids aren't dinghy sailors, so introduce them to big boats or a PHRF fleet.
Sailing with Children

And “DON'TS”

  1. Don't try to teach your kids yourself. Let the professionals do their job. Take your kids sailing with you, but the pros know what will help kids learn.
  2. Don't get the kids into racing too early. Let them develop the love of the sport through fun activities, adventure, and friendships!
  3. Don't push. Let them learn at their own pace. There will be times for the appropriate nudge to keep them going and having fun. Work with the instructors on this, and listen to their advice. --Joni Palmer
  4. Don't place kids in sailing situations beyond their competency or in anxiety-provoking competition before they're ready.
  5. Don't just drop them off at the program. Be involved. Help out with rides, food, or take the class out in your boat. Offer to take pictures or be on the trophy committee.
  6. Don't enroll your kids in a program that's not US SAILING Certified.
  7. Don't buy the best boat it's the sailor, not the boat. Don't purchase speed for your child; he or she should learn to do well without the crutch. It will make them do even better.
  8. Don't stress winning. Celebrate and support achievement of personal goals such as being able to sail on a windy day. Help your child to achieve reasonable "outcome" goals and to celebrate the achievement of these goals.
  9. Don't emphasize competition between peers. Did you beat Johnny today? ... is a no no.
  10. Don't forget safety. Be sure your child is equipped with personal safety equipment: PFD, sunscreen, hat, glasses, and water bottle. Be sure your child's boat is well maintained and properly equipped with the requisite safety gear.

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