If you're looking for an exciting outdoor adventure for your family, a white water rafting experience might be just what you're looking for. To ensure that your children get the most out of their white water rafting experience, it helps to prepare them for what to expect and take extra measures to make sure they stay safe.
For children, water can represent significant danger and uncertainty. If your children don't feel safe around water or understand basic safety precautions, their white water rafting experience might be more terrifying than thrilling.
Comfort: the first step to preparing a child for a white water rafting trip is to make them feel comfortable around water. You can begin by discussing the physical and mental challenges they may experience while on a white water rafting trip. To make your discussion more concrete, you can show them videos of similar white water rafting trips online. If you pitch the experience as an adventure and challenge, your children will be less likely to feel anxiety or dread about the trip. Your children should be able to swim competently and tread water for prolonged periods.
Safety: before embarking on a white water rafting experience with your children, it helps to teach them basic safety rules and procedures. For instance, you can teach your child the acronym S.W.G (pronounced, "swag"). The "S" stands for "seated." Your child should always remain seated when in the raft. The "W" stands for "wear." Your child should always wear a life jacket when rafting. The "G" stands for "guide." When on a white water rafting trip, it's important to listen to the guide's instructions. This acronym is easy to remember, fun to say, and can reinforce fundamental rafting safety protocols.
If possible, give your child a few opportunities with gentler rafting trips, before attempting to take them white water rafting. This is the same type of tactic you might use when taking your children skiing. You wouldn't start with the triple-black diamond, so don't start with a Class 5 rafting experience.
Apparel and Responsibility
Your children aren't likely to have very much fun on your white water rafting trip if they aren't properly attired or they feel like they aren't valuable members of the rafting trip.
Clothing: to ensure your child is appropriately dressed, waterproof clothing and shoes can keep them warm and dry. To make sure that the waterproof clothing is safe, you'll need to choose waterproof footwear that seals at the top. This will prevent water from flooding the shoes when submerged, which can make them feel like weights.
Ownership: providing your child with a sense of responsibility can make them feel more engaged in the trip. Try assigning them tasks such as paddling or keeping an eye out for hazards.