Sailing is not just for sport. For young people who are introduced to sailing at an early age, they pick up many skills that can be carried into their adult lives. Regardless of what career path your child may follow, an early introduction to sailing will develop traits that can pave the direction he or she may choose to follow later in life.
Here is a look at some of the reasons…
Why Your Child Should Learn To Sail
There is a great deal of responsibility that comes from not only taking the helm of a sailboat but also being a crew member. This means that your child will have to be accountable for his or her actions when on board their boat. Sailing presents situations where right-of-way and protocol come into play. All of these expose your child to scenarios that they may not otherwise experience until later in life, for example when they earn a driver’s license.
2. Sense of Direction
When out on the water, it is easy to get lost or at least get confused about where you are at any given time. Sailing provides many methods in which your child will grow to develop a good sense of direction. Through the use of a compass and identifying landmarks, managing to find your way back to where you started is an invaluable skill to have.
3. Weather Knowledge
Being able to identify storm clouds, the direction in which thunderstorms travel and the effects of wind and weather on sailing conditions can make the difference in racing situations. Having that same knowledge will make your child a wealth of information camping, hiking or just when the family decides on an outdoor barbecue. Reading weather patterns is a useful skill to have.
Speaking of weather conditions, Mother Nature has a habit of delaying or forcing the cancellation of many outdoor activities. When such occurrences take place at a regatta, for example, your young sailor will learn the importance of waiting for the wind to die down or a storm to pass. Likewise, when there is no wind, they will have to practice patience for conditions to turn favorable. In a world where instant gratification is so prevalent, being patient will come in handy in so many ways when your child develops.
5. Work Ethic
Nothing speaks louder through sailing than the need for cleanliness and organization. Keeping your boat ‘ship shape’ involves work and effort. Sailing teaches your child work/reward lessons that show success is gained through hard, physical effort. This work ethic is also a factor when racing, as those that put in the hard yards often see the best results on the scoreboard. For children with short attention spans, they pick up on the return from effort lesson quickly.
Spending time on board a sailboat with others lends itself to a lot of laughter, easy conversation and the building of friendships. For many children, these kinds of bonds do not easily happen in school or other settings. When your child learns to sail, the bonding with others of all ages who share some of the same likes and skills builds stronger relationships.
7. Self Confidence
Riding a bicycle is one thing but being able to skipper or crew your own sailboat at a young age is quite something else. The way in which being the captain of your own vessel can build self-confidence can rarely be matched by any other sport. Building your child’s confidence early in life will contribute greatly to developing their sense of self-worth and their abilities.
There is something to be said about managing several tasks within a sailboat in order to stay on course and in a race. These actions all work together in creating the bigger picture of following a race course or navigating their boat through a body of water. Having foresight and being able to see things on a larger scale, and solving problems before they become bigger issues, are all a part of having good visualization skills.
Having to push yourself while sailing in rough conditions, either out on the race course, or in a race to get back to shore before the conditions get worse, can sometimes contain an element of fear. But when your child can safely bring the sailboat to shore while dealing with the possibility of capsizing, he or she has exhibited a level of courage. This will aid them and give them confidence in dealing with unknown and intimidating situation in the future.
Giving your child opportunities to explore in ways they have not been able to before sailing was introduced into their lives will help them tremendously. Being adventurous is much more than having an interest in trying new things and being exposed to the challenges they present. Having a sense of adventure will give your child the ability to use their own creativity.
The world we live in functions on a variety of different systems. The systems that are designed within a sailboat are the result of innovation and many different design alterations. And understanding cause and effect and how these systems work is part of sailing. When your child can grasp the concept of how systems work within sailing, it can help to reveal and understand other systems that exist within their world. It can inspire and encourage curiosity.
If you are seeking an outdoor activity for your child that will teach them valuable lessons and unlock some of their hidden talents, why not consider sailing. Not only will you be able to get your child out of the house and away from their computer screens, you can help them to develop skills that will last a lifetime.
Learning to sail teaches lessons, provides fitness and gives your son or daughter a fun way to spend time outdoors with others. So why not get in touch with someone you know who is into sailing, or head down to your local sailing club, and introduce your child (and maybe yourself) to a sport that can change their life.