Five Tips for Canoeing with Toddlers
A while back Mitchell and I decided to go camping at Suttle Lake in Sisters, OR. We packed up our canoe and we knew it was going to be Meadow’s first time who is only two years old. There is a lot of debate how young is too young to camp, hike, canoe, everything basically. I think everything is up to the parent’s discretion. We personally have always felt comfortable taking Meadow with us on all of our adventures from a really young age. Her fist camping trip was when she was only 6 or 8 weeks old in Flagstaff, Arizona for Mitchell’s first father’s day. She now loves camping and gets so excited when she sees us packing the tent.
But every parent is different and every baby/toddler is different as well.
Meadow experienced her first boat ride in Florida while she was visiting Grandma and Grandpa and she loved it. Grandpa even let her get behind the steering wheel 😉 So when she saw we were getting the canoe in the water, she was all about it. First, we let Mitchell get in with our dog Cherise. In the meantime, I put on Meadow’s life jacket. Then I handed Meadow to Mitchell and I got in right after.
We explained to her that we needed to stay seated the whole time so the canoe wouldn’t flip and you’d be surprised how well kids listen and understand logic. She, of course, wanted to play with the canoe paddles and do what we were doing and we allowed her to, with a lot of supervision.
After 30 minutes or so Meadow told us she wanted to go home, she was probably sick of just sitting still and we returned to shore right away. I think it’s crucial to listen to your little one and take their opinion and emotions seriously. If Meadow doesn’t feel like doing something even if we are very excited, we never force her. So we returned to our campsite and she found some ants to observe and play with.
Here are my five tips for taking your little one on a canoe;
- Always keep a PFD on.
- Keep it a short float in case your kiddo wants to get off.
- Remain calm in case your kid throws a tantrum. Remind your kiddo, he or she needs to remain seated because the canoe can flip and we would all end up in the water. Children pick up parents vibes very quickly so just stay relaxed and enjoy the ride.
- Sunscreen and hats (Meadow refused to wear a hat :/ so I just slathered on sunscreen. Sunburns are no fun.
- Give your kiddo her own canoe paddle, and let them have fun!
Not on the list, bring plenty of snacks and water. Finally, Meadow is taking swimming lessons at the end of this month. It’s important for kids to not panic in case they end up in the water and at least know how to float. Also, our dog was with us but she loves water and is getting old 🙁 She was super calm the whole time. Take your kids outside and enjoy the outdoors together, it is so rewarding and bonding for everyone!