Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: NE Mass
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bring a friend
My crew consists of an almost 5 and almost 2 year old girls. The oldest has been sailing since 1 year old.
The "surprise bag" contains:
fun notebooks (shaped like a dog and a monkey) and crayons for coloring, the ~2 year old needs to be supervised or the cockpit turns purple.
books (board books for the little one, paper for the older)
"magic" magic markers, that only write on special coloring books - god only knows what chemical is in them, but they claim to be "non toxic" So far no ill effects on yacht or child.
And the big hit - glow stick jewelry for night time adventures (we haven't sailed at night, but have been on the boat for some fireworks).
As previously mentioned the "nautical toys" are fun - a sail tie, a short length of line, the boat cushions etc. The 2 year old loves to help steer the boat.
The boat toys are left on the boat - and are "new" every weekend - kind of like visiting a friend's house - all the different toys to play with.
Now that I've fooled you into thinking I'm Super Nanny - I'll let you in on a little secret. We never sail alone with the kids. My wife is still coming up to speed on sailing/boat handling, and is nervous if I were to go overboard, she wouldn't be able to handle the boat & the children. So, we bring along family and/or friends. An extra set of hands is a huge help to keep the kids entertained (and lets my wife relax and enjoy the boat). I usually hang with the kids, and the extra adult(s) crew while my wife skippers.
We also tend to keep the trips on the shorter side - so far only day sails generally only 1/2 day as we try to time the Merrimac River currents. Since we sail out of Newburyport, we usually experience "town" before or after - ice cream, the playground etc. We've been getting requests for a trip to the beach (we can dinghy out to Plum Island). This past weekend we went to the boat for a "picnic" -The 5 year old was as excited as dad to get a new grille for the boat this spring - we let her pick the menu - Burgers and "speckled" (sour cream & onion) chips. She's already requested the next meal - pizza. I guess I'll have to get the new propane regulator hooked up soon.
The ~2 year old screams "Boat, Daddy Boat" every time she sees one (on or off the water). The ~5 year old is really enjoying it this season. She's old enough now to play in the main saloon while under sail (we have her sit on the cabin sole so she doesn't take a spill if we hit a large wake.
As others have mentioned - keep the kids invovled in the planning process, what are we going to do when we get to the destination, what's on the menu etc.
You'll notice a big difference next season in how much more independent your daughter is. Just tough it out this season.
Last edited by hazmat17; 06-01-2010 at 08:22 PM.