We live in a day and age when kids are spending less time doing things outdoors. According to a May 2018 article by the Washington Post, the average American child now spends 5 to 8 hours per day staring at a digital screen. If they are not playing with their smartphones or posting on social media, they are staring at the television as they play video games.
Here’s a novel idea: instead of giving your kids smartphones and video games, how about putting that money into sailing lessons? That’s right, sailing lessons. Teaching a child how to sail sets him or her up for a lifetime of adventure that no video game or smartphone app could ever compare with.
Sailing gets kids out of the house and on the water. When entire families take sailing lessons, they enjoy the benefits of doing and accomplishing something together. Everyone who successfully learns to sail learns a new appreciation for nature that is unparalleled by any amount of book-learning or video-watching.
The Statistics Are Not Good
The fact that kids are spending so many hours per day staring at their screens is bad enough. But the statistics go deeper than just screen time. Furthermore, they are troubling.
A National Trust survey done in the UK in 2016 showed that today’s kids spend just four hours a week doing things outdoors. That is less than half the time their parents spent outdoors as kids. An article published by the Northwest Times of Indiana cited numerous studies that have shown:
- today’s kids are less aerobically fit than their parents
- inactive kids are more likely to be obese
- parents are overly sensitive to stranger danger
- kids are less independent than they have ever been.
The end result of our kids being so sheltered is that it’s taking them longer to grow up and make their way in the world. And when they do venture out on their own, they seem incapable of grasping life outside of the small bubble of technology. It is not good for them, us, or the world in general.
Sailing Lessons Can Make a Difference
NauticEd, a global company offering online theory training and on-the-water sailing lessons, says that teaching kids how to sail can make an enormous difference. To start with, sailing instills in kids a love of both the water and nature, as a whole. But it does more than that.
Sailing requires a basic understanding of geometry and meteorology. Kids who learn to master sailing also tend to do better applying mathematics they learn in school. Sailing teaches them to apply math in a practical way that answers the age-old question kids have been asking since the beginning of time: “Why do I have to learn this; when will I ever use this stuff?”
NauticEd says that sailing lessons teach kids how to solve problems too. They teach kids how to be flexible, how to control their emotions, and how to work hard in order to accomplish a worthwhile goal. All the things that can never be taught using a video game or smartphone are learned on the water – and in spades.
We are raising a generation of kids who cannot think beyond the latest smartphone app or social media post. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Introducing a child to sailing lessons will open up his or her world to things never before experienced. So before you buy that next smartphone or video game, would you at least consider sailing?