It is the middle of Summer and the peak of Boating season here in Malta, of course for all boat lovers this is the time of year we all wait for with so much anticipation and we usually also manage to get a few days off work to spend them on our boat away from everything, just us and the water. The peacefulness is difficult to describe, you have to experience it to understand. once on the water you can totally shut down and de-stress and most importantly considering the very busy life we lead, we get away from everything. However, whilst we are enjoying our shutting down and getting away, a major issue is how we are going to keep our younger kids on board from actually getting bored?
This is the challenge of most families when being out at sea – we can only achieve full relaxation and de-stress only if the kids on board are happy. So how can we achieve this? How can we keep little ones occupied in such a restricted space for a number of days?
In this blog, I am going to list a number of tips which I personally follow when I am out with the kids on board so as to keep everyone onboard happy, entertained and most of all safe!
1. Establish the rules of being on board with the younger ones
It is important to first of all at the beginning of the season and if need be every time you are on board, you have to remind the kids the rules of being out at sea. You have to highlight to them the importance of always wearing their safety vests, especially the ones who are not as comfortable with swimming as yet. Another this is no pressing of any buttons, switches or pulling of leavers, you have to explain that every switch has a function and by pressing or switching off anything at an inappropriate time will have repercussions. Lastly, we all know that it is very difficult for kids to stay in one place for a considerable amount of time, however, we need to make sure that they understand that boats are not a place to run and jump from one place to another especially when we are cruising. Apart from the fact that it will distract the captain of the boat, boats can become slippery with the seawater, plus one can get off balance very easily.
2. Plan ahead and organize yourself
Ok, so you are going to be out at sea for a couple of days, the kids cannot possibly be swimming from morning till night, even if it is just for 1 day, therefore you have to plan for other ways to entertain the kids whilst they are not swimming!
– See what they like playing with at home and get a small bag with their favourite toys. Of course, try and get the smaller toys depending on space restrictions. Also, make sure that you vary your choice of toys as otherwise, they will become boring after a couple of times.
– Make sure that you have a good amount of their favourite snack – we all know that when kids are hungry they become restless and upset, therefore it is important that we keep them happy and full.
– There will be times when the kids get physically tired and they need to keep busy with activities which do not require a lot of energy. Take their favourite books, keep a stock of paper and colours and also activity books. This will keep them busy whilst they are resting.
– Also for those moments where you really need them to sit down and be distracted, you can also download a few of their favourite movies on their tablet. This is a sure way of filling up those gaps where they do not know what to do.
3. Find ways to keep the kids interested
There are a number of ways to keep the kids constantly interested with some innovative ideas. Sit with them beforehand and see what they are interested in doing, come up with projects which you can explore together such as:
– If they like snorkelling a great idea is to plan cleaning the sea around you. You and the kids will not just be spending some quality time together, but also teaching them about the importance of social responsibility and showing them how helping the environment will make them feel good
– Going in search of Octopus and other sea creatures. Of course, the world under the sea is one of beautiful colours and creatures to explore. All kids love seeing and learning about new things
– You can also go exploring with your tender. Prepare torches and snorkelling sets and other interesting equipment and take them on an adventure to explore caves and small coves in the area.
– Get equipment with you and experiment with various sea toys, such as an inflatable kayak, windsurfer. Apart from learning a new sport, it is a very interesting way of exploring your surroundings.
4. Introduce them to the love for boating
Finally, make sure that you involve your kids in anything you do. If you want them to join you on your boat happily week after week, you have to instil in them the same love for boating which you have. How do you do that?
– It is actually quite simple – discuss with them the principles of boating, involve them in everything you do, show them how to do essential things on the boat such as putting down an anchor, checking that there are no ropes in the way of the engine, how to do certain knots, and let them assist you. You can always find something they can help you with, whatever their age.
– Discuss with them new places which they would like to explore and plan where you are going to stay with them.
– Make being out at sea an enjoyable and exciting experience for them as much as it is for you. Show them the joy of freedom out at sea and the benefits of being able to have quality time together!
Having everyone onboard happy and interested makes it a far more enjoyable and positive experience. This is when you will truly fully benefit from the beauty of being out at sea!