Canoe photo Oban

Do my feet look big in these?

Canoeing with Children

Part of our mission to be more adventurous was to learn to canoe properly. My husband learned to canoe at school and is pretty proficient. He and I dabbled in day trips in canoeing when on holiday, once in New Hampshire, USA, down a fairly slow moving river in an open Canadian style canoe and once in sea kayak in a sea loch near Oban in Scotland.

Fast forward to 2015 and husband decided that for his special birthday (one with a zero in it but I’m not allowed to tell you any more) he wanted to build his own wooden sea kayak. He has therefore spent most of the year building his boat.

Nige in canoe

All I need now is some water…and a paddle…

Mostly at his insistence, my twins and I signed up for canoeing lessons in our local pool. I was a little reluctant to start with I must confess. Not at all adventurous mum! The first session was not much fun as the pool was very crowded with all us newbies bumping into each other. I was the only one who fell in the pool trying to get into the canoe for the first time. Hmmm…cue a very red face and children shouting: “I can’t believe you fell in, Mum!”

As the weeks went on, I began to relax and enjoy it a tiny bit. However, one night, I was pulled over by the instructor and asked why I was looking so stressed. I didn’t think that I was obviously stressed but it did bring it home to me that it is extremely difficult to try to learn something new with your children. In my case, I always feel that I am looking out for them to see how they are getting on. I am not even too worried about them falling in or otherwise hurting themselves because they are both pretty confident in the water and have enjoyed it from the word go. But…but…there is always that parent hat to be worn to make sure that they are enjoying it, learning, paying attention, not being a nuisance to anyone else and yes, not drowning!

So the lesson learned that for me, if I am learning anything new in tandem with my kids that it might be better for me to have separate sessions. Hopefully then we can go on to new things together and enjoy that time together without the pressure of learning new things and listening to coaches.

Adventurous children have now progressed to the intermediate class and are having a whale of a time. They are almost able to roll! I decided that, with a new job (and a new blog!), I needed to focus on what I am already trying to shoehorn into my already-packed-to-the-hilt life. I am looking forward to the spring when we can get out on the open water together in some adventures. We will keep you posted on our progress.

What are your experiences of learning with your kids? Did you enjoy it?



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