Some friends of ours love to snowboard. They do it all year long, even in the summer since they’re so close to Mt. Hood. A few years ago they had their first child and she turned three is year. They waited until this year to finally introduce her to their favorite family sport, even though some of our other friends thought it was a bit early. For Lydia, three years old turned out to be the perfect age. She hopped right onto her snowboard with her mom and dad and within an hour or so she was already sliding down hills without getting a mouthful of snow.

You might be like my friends and enjoy some extreme outdoor sports. Now that you have children, will you have to give up your hobbies, or will you start teaching your children the skills they need to participate with you?

Some people may think extreme sports should only be for older children, but young children can learn to enjoy your hobbies as well. You might like to rollerblade, skateboard, or even surf, and chances are that if you take the time to teach your child and spend time with them, they will enjoy the same types of sports you do.

It’s important to remember however, that your young children are still developing their motor skills. My friends didn’t just give their daughter a brief run through of how to snowboard and then send her down the black diamond slopes. They took the time to explain how the gear worked and explained the mechanics of snowboarding so that Lydia would know how to be safe, and then they gave her ample time to practice in a safe area.

Another couple we know enjoys windsurfing and their son has been windsurfing since he was old enough to swim and have enough upper body strength to keep his sail from falling. His dad made sure that he had enough time to practice in the shallows before taking him out into the middle of the Columbia River.

Children, even young children, can pick up a skill remarkably quick if their parents take the time to teach them and make sure they do it right. Maybe now is the time for your little one to start learning your family’s favorite outdoor sport. That could mean teaching them to ride a bike or teaching them how to swim. It could mean teaching them how to handle ski poles or attach their boots to a snowboard. It may even include instructing your child how to stand up in roller blades and the best way to slow down without falling. Outdoor sports are a great way for families to spend time together and get a healthy amount of exercise. What sports do you love? Try introducing your children right now so that you can participate as a whole family.