|Maia began circus when she was six--it has consistently stayed her dream and passion
How old? How long? What works? What doesn’t? I get asked variations of these questions all the time when it comes to cruising with kid(s). My favourite—which we’re asked more than you would think—is, Did we bring Maia with us for the trip?
When we say that yes, indeed, our seven, eight, nine, now ten-year-old (how the heck did that happen?) is along for the ride the question inevitably goes back to one of the ones above. And the oft spoken assumption is pretty soon she’ll be a terrible teen who will rebel against our lifestyle and will want to go shopping in the mall—and what will we do then?
First let me say this—cruising kids come in all ages. We’ve met folks cruising with newborns (many born along the way) and people cruising with their young adult ‘kids’. The bulk of the kids fall between the ages of five and 12 though—and with good reason. Cruising with kids under five is a whole bunch of work—it can be fun work, but it can also be isolating (you don’t get invited to as many parties or on the longer excursions) and exhausting (night watches take on a whole new level of complexity when you know you have a busy day ahead).
|If you asked her what she misses most about life before sailing she would tell you she misses the circus
Teens are a totally different challenge—but not for the reason you think…
Rebellion, we’re told, is seldom the issue. Excessive maturity is.
Most parents when they plan to cruise with their kids have this hazy idea that while sailing together will promote family togetherness it will also give their kids a chance to evolve into their best selves without the pressures of peers, the excesses of westernized life and the limitations of schools that teach to the test.
And it works.
They often pass through this sort of seamless childhood—confident, clear and certain about what they need and want in their lives. And that’s where the teen years get tough—because sailing isn’t always what they need and want. But unlike typical teens who maybe don’t want to go on that annual summer sailing trip because they’ll miss their friends—it’s a bit more complex.
|Maia visited two schools and four classes before deciding to audition for a performance troupe--she sees it as a step toward her future career
There is something that happens to kids when they are part of a family that works to buy a boat, quit jobs and head off in pursuit of a dream. They grow into people who believe in their own dreams. We’ve met kids who wanted to stop sailing so they could pursue musical goals, apply for early admission to college, have better access to powerful computers or rejoin a sports team. And as parents we’re sometimes faced with a sudden and very difficult question:
Whose dreams take precedence?