Tips and Tricks

5 Ways to Keep Kids on Board Happy

Long sailing holidays with the whole family are a blessing. The kids and the parents get to spent time together exploring the world, embarking on new adventures every day. However, sailing for long periods with small children or even teenagers could be a bit of a challenge for the parents.

There are just so many things to consider. From safety to proper eating habits to schooling and keeping them entertained. A parent with a bit of experience can handle most of these aspects. However, there are some subtle gestures that you, as a parent, can make so that your kid feels happy and at home while sailing. This list shows you a few of these ways to keep your kids onboard content; let’s dive in!

Tip #1 – Give Your Kids Privacy

Some families have it figured out, and their solution to the privacy problem is easy. The parents simply charter a bigger yacht, and the kid is happy, having an entire cabin to himself. However, not all boats are that spacious, and some families are bigger, so unless you want to charter a large yacht with more cabins than at your own house, you will need to figure out another way to give your kids privacy. Here are some simple ways to keep tempers from flaring and offer your kids a place where they can relax, vent, and call their own.

Utilize Curtains

If you have two or more kids sharing bunk beds, it could be beneficial to install some curtains. Then when the kid wants privacy or to be alone for a bit, all that needs to be done is to pull the curtain. Here you can go wild with the design and the colors. We are confident that little kids especially will have a great time pretending to be in space with a galaxy curtain and a flashlight.

Make it Cozy

We know that it’s hard to implement interior design elements on a small boat. However, there are some minor details you can address so the space looks more comfy and cozy, just like home. Small pillows, fluffy blankets, family photos, and tiny lights usually do the trick. Even better, let your kids help you with that so that they can feel involved in creating this homey space.

Give Them Some Alone Time

This is especially important when the kid is going through puberty. We may not like it, but kids usually need some time away from the parents to feel independent and rested. You can leave them to wander a bit alone through an island or let them stay on the boat while you go get groceries or swim. After all, both parents and kids need some alone time.

Tip #2 – Let Your Kids Be Free

Kids on boat

No matter the size of the boat, they can all feel small or cramped at times. In such situations, you can try to give your kids some freedom to explore and have fun on their own. Of course, that doesn’t mean to let them go on a trip to a town they’ve never visited before, but if you have already seen an island or a particular beach, you can let them roam around alone so that they feel independent. Here are also a few other ways that a sense of freedom could be achieved.

Let Them Drive the Dinghy

Here, of course, we are talking about older kids and teenagers. Driving the dinghy is probably too serious of a responsibility for a small child. However, the older and more mature ones that have seen you doing this multiple times could probably handle it.

Don’t Be Condescending

Being a kid does not mean being unable to handle responsibility. Most kids will appreciate it if they are given tasks and ways to be helpful on the boat. For a teenager, standing on night watch on passage could be a learning experience. Such duties usually make kids feel proud, useful and grow as individuals.

Don’t Go Too Hard With the School Work

Don’t get us wrong, homework is a very serious business that shouldn’t be overlooked, and we are not suggesting you let them slack off. However, you can set a specific time of the day for learning. Observe your kids and see at what time of the day they don’t feel like going wild and playing. Furthermore, if you are sailing in summer, at a very hot destination, it’s recommended not to leave your kids to play at the hottest hours of the day. That time (but not all of it) could be dedicated to school.

Tip #3 – Keep Them Entertained

This one is a bit obvious. However, the question is how do you do that on a boat? Well, it’s actually quite simple, you just need to prepare in advance. Of course, most of the time kids like to explore and can entertain themselves, but in the moments they are on the boat, or it’s a rainy day, here is what you can do to prevent boredom crisis.

Bring Books (E-readers) or Comic books

There is always something that your kids would like to read, you just have to offer them options and let them choose. Taking a kid to a bookstore to choose his books or comics before a trip can be inspiring both for you and your child. In case you are worried, there will be no space on the boat, get just a few fascinating books or go for an E-reader.

Bring Movies and a Laptop

On a sailing trip, most people like to get away from technology and break free from everyday life with laptops, tablets, and phones. However, it’s good to have at least one laptop and a bunch of family favorite movies for rainy days or evenings.

Bring Music

This is probably the best advice we can ever give. Music is an outlet, entertainment, tool to make everything more fun, even chores. Nowadays it’s easy to get a very nice sound with a portable speaker. You can just put it somewhere, connect to it and let the music play all day for a good mood.

In case this is not enough, and you want to go all out, check out our list 9 Boating Activities That Are Perfect for Families!

Tip #4 – Find Other Kids

This is definitely a difficult task. However, it’s also one of the most crucial aspects to making your kid happy, especially if he’s the only child on board. Loneliness and boredom can hit very hard for a kid when he is away from his friend group and in an unknown destination. Thankfully, there are ways to help your kid find friends even on a sailing trip.

Find Other Kid Boats

This can be done in several different ways. One of the most effective ones is over the single sideband radio nets. Using that you can ask about kid boats in your area or in the area you are headed and even arrange a meetup. Other ways include the VHF, cruising kids’ websites or Facebook pages, but that is if you have Internet. If not you can visit destinations that are popular for families with kids, like George Town in the Bahamas.

Help Your Kids Stay in Touch With Friends Back Home

Missing home and friends are probably some of the biggest problems your children can experience on a long sailing holiday. What you can do to make them feel better is to arrange video talks with their friends in case you have Internet. But if you don’t you can get them postcards they can send immediately to friends back home or keep somewhere safe to give when you return, Another smart way is giving them a Polaroid camera which they can use to take pictures of all the things they would like to show to friends.

Encourage them to Play With Locals

In most cases, they won’t speak the same language, but you will be amazed at how kids can make friends without even having to talk all because of imagination and that young free spirit. Sometimes, you may have to give them a little push to overcome their shyness. It’s definitely going to be worth it.

Tip #5 – Listen

We doubt this comes as a surprise since at the foundation of every happy and calm child is understanding and two-sided communication with the parents. Contrary to popular belief teenagers are not aliens and kids can teach us a lot if we’re just willing to listen carefully. Long sailing holidays or even living on a boat can be challenging for families. However, if we put in a bit of effort into hearing what our kids have to say about their feeling and their experiences, we can create a stunning bond and amazing memories not just on board but also at home.

So what do you think? Will you implement some of our advice on your next sailing holiday with your family? We would love to read about your family sailing experiences in the comments below or on our Facebook Page. And remember, the Tubber Charter Experts are always here to help you choose the best charter yacht and destination for you and your family!