Author Topic: How young is Too Young?  (Read 1943 times)

Offline mcdonald311

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How young is Too Young?
« on: April 08, 2011, 02:20:18 PM »
My husband signed us up for the Appleseed weekend. I'm excited to be going with him, but he also signed up our 6yr old son. I'm not 100% happy with the idea of him shooting in the back at home with his Dad, let alone coming on the weekend with so many people. From reading I understand how safe everything is and the great people who are there to work with everyone.

My question to all who volunteer, teach or who have taken their children...what are the thoughts on a 6yr old attending?   He is a good little shooter and is larger than his age and has an "older soul" than most 6 yr olds, but I still think he should wait till 8 or 10.

Any advice is helpful, to either ease my AND MY EXTENDED FAMILY'S thoughts, or to talk my husband into waiting a few more years.
Thank you so much

Offline fprintf

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Re: How young is Too Young?
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2011, 03:00:11 PM »
I suggest you or your husband contact the Shoot Boss and discuss the situation with him or her. Ultimately the safety of your son and everyone else on the line will depend on the maturity of your son, how well he listens to (and follows) directions, and how well he does handling a rifle.

Personally I would not recommend it, but that is only because all of the 6 year olds I know are far from mature enough to handle a BB gun lightly supervised, much less a rimfire rifle. The difference between 6 and 8 or 10 is remarkable, I've seen some pretty capable 8 year olds on the line. I say wait, let him stay with Grandma so you and your husband can enjoy the weekend of instruction without worrying if your son is enjoying himself, making a nuisance, or off in the weeds somewhere!  :)

If you do end up bringing him, be sure to pack some non-rifle related entertainment. Videos, songs, books, whatever he can manage on his own away from the firing line. Kids get bored and need to take many more breaks from repetitive activities than adults do.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2011, 03:05:49 PM by fprintf »
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Offline techres

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Re: How young is Too Young?
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2011, 03:02:14 PM »
The age that is needed is based on your child's attention span and ability to follow instructions.  I have had 7-8 year olds on my line and they have done well.  The issue is that every child is a unique person and I have had 9 year olds with more maturity and attention span than some 15 year olds.  So it is a case by case basis.

What I would do as an instructor is ask that the child be able to take breaks whenever they need to which means a parent who can sit with them when they are not on the shooting line.  If that means Dad has to also take a break then so be it, or better yet if Grandma comes along and is waiting in a nice chair - whatever works best.

As for safety, your child will be safe or he will not be shooting and you can count on that.  Once we know we have a young youth on the line we will put an instructor with them to mentor and gauge them until we know exactly how closely they will need mentored through the weekend.  If they need one on one all weekend, then that will be fine.

Now these are purely technical answers to a technical question.  As to what will be the appropriate age for him, and you all as parents, that is up to you and your husband.

What we can offer is a safe place to shoot and a great deal to learn.  What we would need is an adult to be with him when he is off the shooting line.  If you think he will spend far more of his time not shooting than shooting, then this might not be the year. 

Now another option is for you and your husband to attend first and get a good feel for what we do and how.  That would put you in a great place to better judge what your kid is able to do.

We hope to see you soon, one way or another,
Techres
Appleseed: Bringing the Past into the Present to save our Future.

Offline Nickle

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Re: How young is Too Young?
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2011, 03:08:53 PM »
Well, I don't judge based on age, but, rather maturity and physical size.

6 is a little on the young side, but, some can handle it. Some can't still in their early to mid teens.

For what it's worth, I have 2 granddaughters, a 6 yeard old and an almost 8 year old. The 6 year old is into archery, the 8 year old just starting into shooting. Both have a parent that's been to an Appleseed.

The bottom line is, "how is he at following directions from the Instructor team" and "how is his attention span"?



Just noticed that 2 others have replied.

They give good advice.
They have men amongst them who know very well what they are about, having been employed as Rangers against the Indians and Canadians and this country being much covered with wood, and hilly, is very advantageous for their method of fighting. . . . ".  Lord Percy

Sounds like New Englanders to me.

Offline vmt193

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Re: How young is Too Young?
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2011, 03:14:12 PM »
It really does depend on the individual. I know none of my grandkids would have been ready at 6. A couple years makes a big difference! I have one that's 8 now and I'm just thinking about getting her to one this year. She's very mature but might still come up a bit short on the physical abilities yet. The biggest question is, can they be relied upon to handle the rifle in a safe manner ALL the time? They should at least be able to load their own rifle/magazines and make the rifle safe. Then it's still possible for them to shoot prone from a rest the entire day.

My experience says that it would take an exceptional 6 year old to make a go at an Appleseed. Even more so if dad plans to shoot and be able to enjoy himself too. In fact I had one shooter show up last year and I think his son was about 6. He ended up very frustrated and they left early on Saturday. As a shooter you have all you can do to take care of yourself and keep up with the instruction. If there are plenty of instructors, one could be tasked with mentoring a young shooter, and I usually do just to ensure safety. But if instructor/student ratio is low, it may be cheating the other shooters.

If you choose to take him and let him shoot, don't be afraid to pull him from the line if it gets to be too much trouble and let dad salvage his weekend. :)

vmt







Offline JustJeff

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Re: How young is Too Young?
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2011, 03:26:51 PM »
My .003457FRN worth:
There are teenagers who refuse to listen and have no business on the line, there are 7 and 8 year olds who do an excellent job listening and are safer than a lot of 'adults.'  It all boils down to whether or not your son can take direction or not.  Here's a picture including our youngest shooter last weekend in Levelland Texas... his dad chose to spend the day helping him.  This young man spent the entire day on the line (they were there Saturday only).  I believe Gunner is 6 years old, but he may actually be 5.  Dad had actually intended to watch him (off the line) while Mom shot (she's the first in the pic). 
« Last Edit: April 08, 2011, 03:29:54 PM by JustJeff »
Your version of "ineffective" does not necessarily reflect the truth....
Having been "ineffectively" taught to the Rifleman Standard and having been "ineffectively" taught to teach others to the Rifleman Standard, I believe I prefer the "ineffective" over the other choice.

Online Mark Davis

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Re: How young is Too Young?
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2011, 04:50:05 PM »
No problem at any shoot I run, as long as an adult who was familiar with firearms and preferably a previous appleseed attendee was giving the youngster 100% of his attention.
As mentioned earlyer a favorite toy or two may be good to have along.

Offline mcdonald311

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Re: How young is Too Young?
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2011, 05:02:45 PM »
Thank you all so much for your advice. My husband is an NRA certified Pistol Instructor and has been working with our son at home (Don't let his Grandma know that!) Our son is very good at following instructors in any situation and i think JustJeff's photo says it all. That would be my husband, he said he'd step off the line and help our son all day if need be, because he wanted us to get the shooting experience. (i think he knows my son and I are better shots ;-)   Seeing a photo of a Dad and Son bonding like that, how could I say no.

We'll see how things go and I will update after the weekend (april 15-17 NC).
I'll definitely pack a goody bag for him with treats and video games and a good puzzle book!

Thank you again!

Offline slim

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Re: How young is Too Young?
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2011, 06:04:50 PM »
what are the thoughts on a 6yr old attending?   
As said above, if he can safely participate, we'd love to have him at an event.

Any advice is helpful, to either ease my AND MY EXTENDED FAMILY'S thoughts 
My advice is you should bring your extended family with you to the event. It sounds like they're not all that familiar with shooting. I'm guessing if they're not all that familiar with shooting they probably haven't heard the story of Apr. 19, 1775 either. Both of those issues can be cleared up at an Appleseed.

The other thing that'll probably happen (seen it so many times!) is they may actually want to start participating in the activities your son enjoys together with him. I wish I had a dollar for every kid that asked their parents or grandparents, "Can we do this again sometime?"

Offline JustJeff

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Re: How young is Too Young?
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2011, 06:10:07 PM »
what are the thoughts on a 6yr old attending?   
As said above, if he can safely participate, we'd love to have him at an event.

Any advice is helpful, to either ease my AND MY EXTENDED FAMILY'S thoughts 
My advice is you should bring your extended family with you to the event. It sounds like they're not all that familiar with shooting. I'm guessing if they're not all that familiar with shooting they probably haven't heard the story of Apr. 19, 1775 either. Both of those issues can be cleared up at an Appleseed.

The other thing that'll probably happen (seen it so many times!) is they may actually want to start participating in the activities your son enjoys together with him. I wish I had a dollar for every kid that asked their parents or grandparents, "Can we do this again sometime?"

Well said...now why didn't I think to add that????  O0
Your version of "ineffective" does not necessarily reflect the truth....
Having been "ineffectively" taught to the Rifleman Standard and having been "ineffectively" taught to teach others to the Rifleman Standard, I believe I prefer the "ineffective" over the other choice.

Offline sashok.privetov

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Re: How young is Too Young?
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2011, 06:37:23 PM »
Thank you all so much for your advice. My husband is an NRA certified Pistol Instructor and has been working with our son at home (Don't let his Grandma know that!) Our son is very good at following instructors in any situation and i think JustJeff's photo says it all. That would be my husband, he said he'd step off the line and help our son all day if need be, because he wanted us to get the shooting experience. (i think he knows my son and I are better shots ;-)   Seeing a photo of a Dad and Son bonding like that, how could I say no.

Should not be a problem at all, then.
As long as he knows the four cardinal rules of gun safety: http://www.ehow.com/way_5472999_cardinal-rules-gun-safety.html
There is a saying in Russia, a notion really--Texan Politeness:
If you know that everyone around you has a gun, and everyone around you knows that you have a gun, everyone is very polite to each other.

Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.  --Thomas Jefferson

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