When most adults think of climbing, they picture danger. For some of them the idea of their children climbing is absolutely unacceptable. The truth, however, is quite different. Climbing is very safe, especially when doing it on a Climbing wall under the eye of an Instructor (or when you have enough of your own experience to take care of it). In such conditions, climbing might be way more safer for kids than the first attempts at bike riding!
Activity, fun, and above all safety
Climbing walls for kids – what to keep in mind to make climbing safe for our children:
- small children have their center of gravity located much lower, which means they should use complete (integrated) harnesses that cover the entire body;
- during the first time on the wall (the first attempts to climb) we can’t let them climb higher than within the reach of the parent’s hands so that they don’t get startled, that’s very important!;
- observe your child’s reactions;
- we should stick to the rule of “don’t force it”;
- always check the knot connecting the line with the harness and if its attached correctly! (you can always ask the staff for help);
- go through a belay training, or hire an Instructor for that.
Don’t let the music playing, colorful grips and walls fool you and let your guards down. Stick to the above rules!
Children on a Climbing wall – learning through fun
There’s a lot of Climbing games that can be utilized in such situations. The large variety of exercises, gymnastics, balancing and stretching, use of different equipment, techniques, elements of yoga, preferably as a form of fun, oftentimes in pairs or groups, all work really great. We also need to take a creative advantage of the competitive spirit, but also educate on how climbing is about partnership, responsibility and trust. The right to belay others might be utilized as a great reward for diligence and perseverance. And kids love feeling important, getting serious tasks. Let’s get them this sense of independence while still monitoring what they’re doing and how.
Kids love competition
That’s what makes all the different climbing competitions for kids so popular. The emotions, the crowd cheering, the direct competing with others – such atmosphere is something that kids love. Most children’s competitions are free of charge or for a nominal fee, every child can participate in such competition, the right to enter is not limited to those with invitations.
Climbing with a rope is a huge dose of emotions, especially for beginners, as the height is always impressive. However, we shouldn’t make the mistake of carelessly pulling an unprepared child high up, it might later turn out to be their first and last visit to a Climbing wall.
How to get prepared for the first time on a Climbing wall?
Kids’ climbing, especially on Artificial walls, doesn’t require any special or costly expenses. For the first time, all we need is the simplest climbing boots, as it’s a very personal element of equipment, whereas harnesses and the rest of equipment can be rented at the place for a small fee. During the first visit, any sport shoes will suffice most of the time, provided they are tight enough, so that they stay stable on the feet. We can visit most Artificial walls with our child without having to arrange it earlier or make a reservation – sort of like when going to a swimming pool or a gym. When it comes to clothes, there aren’t really any specific limitations, what matters is that they provide freedom of movement.