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7 Reasons to Take Your Kids Fishing
Gets them back to nature Admit it. Your kids probably spend way too much time in front of electronics when they get home from school until they go to bed. Or at least you wish they spent even less time than they actually do. And just because you have your kids in sports or other activities, being involved doesn’t necessarily focus on being outside. Getting out of the house, into the fresh air, and communing with nature has a great, calming effect for you and for your kids.
Teaches them where their food comes from Like gardening and livestock and hunting, fishing helps teach kids where our food really comes from. It also opens their world to try new foods and learn about broadening their taste palate and learn about healthier ways to eat. The act of catching, preparing and cooking fish for their own meal gives them a big sense of accomplishment, too!
Teaches a valuable self reliance/survival skills Whether your child is caught in an emergency situation, or wants to become more self reliant, fishing is a means of learning to provide for oneself and one’s family from the catch to the pan. There are other survival skills that need to be learned to be safe while fishing: blade safety, swimming, boat safety, navigation, weather spotting
Gets them exercising This may not be the biggest impact exercising that a child can do, but the walking, the bending, the squatting, the balancing, the casting and the running around like crazy when they get bored activity is more than a lot of kids may do, especially if they tend to be couch potatoes.
Teaches conservation, ecology, science and more
Yes, your kids can get an education out of a morning spent at the lake! Kids can learn about fish species and their characteristics (which are good for eating and which are good for bait, how they spawn, etc.) how to fish appropriately for the time of year and fish population (throwing back when too small or pregnant), water conservation, local ecological effects on fishing from droughts to pollution, and a whole mess of natural sciences tied to the surroundings of your fishing hole!
Teaches them patience
One thing that we can do for our kids is slow them down and help them focus. Our world has become fast-paced, our children training to expect entertainment and stimulus constantly, and a little downtime to learn to slow down, be patient, and enjoy the little things is always a great idea. Fishing teaches us to be patient and just relax. How much time do you engage in stressful activities of rushing around getting things done as opposed to taking time to sit in calm silence with your child and just be?
Gives you opportunities for awesome conversations
What is your life like after school with your kids? Rushing to the next activity, home for dinner, getting homework done, baths and bedtime routines and then bedtime. When did you have time to sit and talk to your child? Really talk to them about more than what is due tomorrow or what baking treat you must make for the next day’s activity that you didn’t know about yesterday? The best real life conversations I’ve had with my kids are when we’re alone, relaxed and able to speak freely without life butting in. This is a great family activity that can be enjoyed as a sport in fishing tournaments or as part of a family camping vacation or as relaxing time away from life.
Some Tips for Fishing with Kids
- Make sure they are water safe – they need to know how to swim and they need life preservers if necessary.
- Be patient – they are going to need you to bait, to untie tangles, to fetch and probably cry on their shoulder when faced with the realities of what you do once you’ve caught a fish.
- Make sure you have a license if one is required where you are fishing. Know the laws of your particular fishing hole.
- Keep an eye on them always.
- Use live bait that’s not much bigger than your hook. Earthworms, crickets, meal worms and minnows work great.
- Use smaller bobbers, which makes it more likely your fish will actually be hooked instead of taking the bait and running. The line will be more accomodating to the pressure of the fish as opposed to working against you.
- Be prepared to have fun, even if you aren’t successful. Fishing is one of those activities where there may be no prize if you don’t make any catches. But make it fun for your kids and the outting is likely to be more successful!
- Be prepared – have plenty of snacks and water, sunscreen, bug repellant, sunglasses and a few tricks up your sleeve if they begin to get restless. It will make the day go better for all of you!
- Don’t use the gimmicky, licensed fishing poles for kids if you can help it. You can start with a small, lightweight model that may prove easier to use. Yes, you’ll see gimmicky poles in my shots, but this was our first trip out with a gift pole. We’ve since invested in lightweight poles with better reels.
- Keep it short the first few times out. Don’t expect your kids to enjoy a full day of fishing unless you’ve got other activities planned at the fishing site as well.
Some resources you might find helpful:
Stream Explorers – interactive fishing site
The Kid’s Book of Fishing – I love pretty much anything this series puts out!
Fish Facts Files– good site for learning about different kinds of saltwater fish
Share your thoughts — do you take your kids fishing? Did your grandfather or dad or other family member take you as a kid? What were your favorite memories?
Get more on Creating Self-Reliant kids here: