General

How To Introduce Your Kids To Shooting

Everyone that shoots and has children thinks about the day they will pass on that heritage to their offspring. Teaching your kids to shoot, like when you teach them to drive, is a mix of anticipation, excitement, and, if we are honest with ourselves, anxiety and sheer terror.

To help out with the latter end of those emotions, here are some tips that will make it easy to teach your child how to shoot effectively and safely, plus, pass on your legacy as a shooter.

Make Sure They Are Ready

First and foremost, do not rush them into learning how to shoot. Every child matures differently, putting pressure on you to figure out when your child is ready. Some kids are ready at a very young age. Some are interested in learning how to shoot but are immature. A few develop an interest later, say, in their teens.

You know your child best, so you need to ask yourself these questions and apply the “but,” test to the answers:

  • Is my child interested in learning to shoot?
  • Is my child mature enough to learn to shoot?
  • Is my child capable of learning to shoot at his or her age?
  • Will my child understand and apply the principles of safety at all times?

If your answer to any of those questions ends with a “but,” you probably should wait a while before introducing them to shooting.

Teach Before & After Training Day

Learning the basics of shooting, especially how to be safe and shoot correctly, is challenging, especially for the average child. Beyond the initial exposure to safety and technique, it is equally important that your child internalize and absorb the lessons you impart.

One suggestion is to practice safety and technique before they learn first-hand how to shoot. Research effective teaching and instruction topics. Review safety protocols and walk them through handling, aiming, and shooting techniques for several nights before the big day.

Teach Safety First

Before your child fires a single shot, you need to emphasize the importance of firearm safety. Safety includes always wearing proper protective gear, whether shooting a firearm or an air gun. Even then, you must follow standard shooting safety rules.

Small, Quiet, and Unobtrusive Beats Loud And Distracting

You do not want to take an easily distractible child to a firing range in the middle of a busy weekend afternoon and try to teach them how to shoot. What you should do is take your child to a quieter, less busy environment where they will:

  • Not be distracted
  • Be able to learn
  • Not be intimidated

If you have the room and can be safe, teach them in your backyard or at an outdoor place where you can legally and safely shoot that is not busy. A firing range might work, but only when the volume of other shooters is low.

Then, The Fundamentals

Always start each shooting lesson by reviewing basic safety procedures and rules. Make sure when they always follow safe handling protocols. If they do not, stop the training, point out the infraction, and walk them through how to be safe.

Once you are sure they understand the safety rules, walk them through each step of the shooting process. Start with a few easy targets and gradually move to more difficult shots.

Remind them that good shooters hit their targets because they took their time, learned the basics, and practiced whenever possible. Remember to congratulate them when they hit their targets. If you do need to reprimand them, do so quietly and, if possible, privately.

Keep It Fun

The chances are good your child will love shooting. There is also a very good possibility that their attention span will have its limits.

Always plan your shooting, training, and outdoor events with their attention span in mind to build interest and keep them engaged. Do not plan an all-day event that exhausts them or, worse, leads to boredom or carelessness.

You must let them develop their own passion for shooting or hunting. Do not push them. Be patient with them even if they do not seem interested after the initial excitement disappears.

Remember That Most Great Shooters Are Made

A few people pick up shooting immediately and shoot like a pro in record time. The majority of new shooters will take a lot more time. Your willingness to get them started correctly is a great first step toward creating a great shooter.

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