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Old 06-01-2012, 08:44   #1
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Sailing with children

Hi guys!

I need advice of those who cruise with small kids on board. I have 2 kids; 5 & 2 y.o. and planning a 6 months trip next year around mediterranean. I am building a pilothouse motorsailer now and will finish in the next coming months..

Spending time with them, I just wonder how to burst their energy on boat while sailing and keep them & boat safe
another point i consider, if it will be beneficial for them to spend that time on boat rather going to pre-school.

will appreciate any comments, advices...

cheers!
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:05   #2
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Re: Sailing with children

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Originally Posted by Berke View Post
.......... I just wonder how to burst their energy on boat while sailing and keep them & boat safe............
We raised our two children aboard and cruised with them from their infancy to adulthood. For safety we developed a number of rules,- life jackets required outside to cockpit in the most mild weather until they were excellent swimmers; taboo areas around dangerous running rigging; and always a recognition between my wife and I as to who was overseeing which child or both. Actually, we found that we would often trade days as to who was captaining the vessel and who was the responsible parent, but we kept everything flexible and negotiable. For activities, our children did take on some of the tasks,- at the helm, making snack trays, etc. Our daughter could entertain herself in her cabin for hours and our son spent more time on deck. I always thought it was ironic that he enjoyed trailing a toy boat on a string form our taff rail. They also presented us with plays and enjoyed role playing games. Frequent swimming and kayaking were on our list. We even found that we could have our children enjoy being pulled on lines behind our boat on slow drifting days or swing from a bosun's chair clipped to the genoa clew on some swifter, yet easy, days; however, these activities were more at eight and older ages. For your younger children hammock and chair swings could be used. With our children at the age of yours, we also arranged treasure hunts on deck and below by hiding a series of clues, each leading to the next hidden location, and ending with a simple treasure or treat. We were even successful hiding Easter eggs on the deck at that day. Our daily high energy activities of simply provisioning ashore, bicycling, hiking and exploring beaches often were enough to wear out our children and keep us fit.
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Old 06-01-2012, 10:39   #3
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Re: Sailing with children

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Originally Posted by Berke View Post
I just wonder how to burst their energy on boat while sailing and keep them & boat safe
Some things our kids liked:
- Hammock hung off the boom. They of course liked it, and it also contained them for a little while if we were doing something (oil change) where we did not need their help.
- Kid pool inflated on deck, filled with sea water. Warms up in the sun and is a fun splash pool. This was nice for mellow afternoons on board.
- Some smaller kids really like bean bags at sea.

And of course everything that was said above.

Photo of them at 1 and 3 years old:


The pop up shade tent was a hit. Since it's sometimes "far" to go all the way back to the boat from the beach, this allowed a quick nap or chill out time out of the sun.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Berke View Post
another point i consider, if it will be beneficial for them to spend that time on boat rather going to pre-school.
Once my youngest could talk, she started bugging us to go to school. Once she started school she was quickly fed up with it. I liked spending a lot of time with them, and I think it was good for them, too.
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Old 08-01-2012, 01:57   #4
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Thank you friends, very insightful advices! Will apply all..

regards,
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:18   #5
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Re: Sailing with children

As a kid used to spend extended time on boats - albeit no long voyages and less than 6 months per trip.

I would say the No.1 "entertainment" is the shore (both beaches and towns / people) - probably a bit young to wander off on own ........so you get to relive yer childhood ......only restricted by own (and your child's!) imagination.....hunting for pirate treasure along the shore / in the dinghy, making sandcastles.....and having a pointy stick is always a plus Anything new can be exciting. Helping also goes down well - even if it makes the job longer .

Trust me that admiring the view is not a kid's idea of fun, nor sitting quietly reading a book, nor being "stuck" onboard 24/7 - all that comes later in life.

I would also avoid asking too much what they want to do, a fait accompli / the unexpected with the attraction of making the ordinary an "adventure". If you can also get the kids picking up some lingo (and using it with the locals) will be something that will always be useful - and using a kid to speak to the locals goes down well in every culture . Pre-school education? IMO only need to teach the kid to read, write and do basic sums (plus give them a general education about the world) before they go to proper school, as you would do anyway if ashore.

FWIW me father (nearing 80) still remembers (fondly) simply messing around with his father "helping" repair his boat (and funnily enough doesn't really remember boat trips ).....and also remembers his father occassionally spotting Popeye (Popeye was big pre-war!) - but he always seemed to hide just before my father could spot him .
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