Tips To Make Canoeing With Kids Safer And More Fun

Riding in a canoe is a lot of fun, whether you're 5 years old or 50. If you want to spend some time out on the water with your child, taking him or her in a canoe is a good way to do it. Just make sure you follow these tips to ensure you both stay safe and have the best time possible.

Tip #1: Let your child get used to the feeling of the canoe before pushing too far off shore.

Some children are initially alarmed by the back-and-forth motion of riding in a canoe. They might initially think the boat is going to tip over, and will get a little scared. To ease these fears, spend some time sitting in the canoe really close to the shore before you push off. Your child will soon realize that even though the boat tips back and forth, it's going to stay upright. Then, he or she will have the confidence needed to venture into deeper waters.

Tip #2: Give your child a paddle.

Your child may not paddle with enough force to actually move the boat, but they will feel more in control if you let them paddle along with you. Generally, it's best to sit in the back of the canoe and let your child sit in front of you, since it is your canoe paddle that will actually be propelling the boat forward. Depending on your child's age, you can start teaching him or her how to paddle more effectively -- just don't take away the paddle if your child's paddling is ineffective. It's still fun.

Tip #3: Bring bug spray.

Bug bites can quickly turn any canoe trip into miserable business, especially for a sensitive child. You might not mind a mosquito or two, but unless you want to turn back to shore with a crying child after 10 minutes on the water, it's best to bring the spray. Look for a bug spray made especially for children, since these tend to be less concentrated and less harmful if accidentally ingested.

Tip #4: Tell someone where you are going.

Even the most experienced canoe rowers have accidents sometimes. When you have a child with you, you may not be able to work yourself out of a pickle that would otherwise be no issue at all. Tell someone where you are going and when they should expect you to be back, so they can send help if you don't return.

Of course, you and your child should also wear life jackets, stay seated in the canoe, and be careful not to lean too far over the edge. Other than that, canoeing with a child is pretty simple. Relax, and have a great time creating new memories out on the water.