Very often, I find myself out on the water with my children. They love the water (My predisposition and our location didn’t give them much choice). Figuring out how to work out our family logistics has been a fun and challenging part of my paddling routine. My daughter is right on the cusp of paddling solo. Some times she does for short trips or in protected water. Other times, it is a compromise of unique towing techniques and more independent paddling. I am often pushed to redefine my goals, teaching techniques or to just plain change the way I am looking at things.
Case in point, my kids have developed a paddling style that uses both ends of the paddle in the fashion you would typically use a kayak paddle. They sit down and place one stroke on one side with the blade and one on the other with the grip and handle. It works amazingly well. It is easier for them to master with their lighter weight and while paddling our kid specific boards (Sub and Mini Sub), but I now use this technique occasionally. It is a lot of fun and works very well. Try it out the next time you are on the water and want to have a seat on your board to rest.
Other times, they just need a short tow. We use a contact tow. I will weight the tail of my board to submerge it and they paddle the nose of their board over it. When I step back forward the tail raises and the friction of our tail kick on their board pulls them along. I can even make gentle turns and the tail kick acts as a pivot point for our “train”.
No one is every too old to learn or too young to teach.