Kids & Climbing
Why aren’t there more parents with kids climbing at the cliff and at the gym? In Europe, climbing is a family affair. The whole clan packs up, heads to the cliff, and makes a day of it. But here, people are surprised to see mom or dad, not just belaying the kids in a birthday party, but actually climbing together with them. Kids are naturals for the activity, and with its safer and more convenient environment, the gym is the perfect place. So here’s the beta.
Number one mistake? Some adult trying to talk (or worse, yell) the kid through every move. But no one learns to climb by listening to the backseat climber on the ground, and no one enjoys it more because someone was blathering on about where your left hand needs to be and all. Net net: except for the occasional ‘great job!’ or ‘wow, look at you!’, ‘rents really must shut up.
Two, don’t push them too hard. Let them go as high as they want (or don’t want), and then let them down when they want down. They’ll warm up to it and develop more courage with familiarity and practice.
Three, make it into a game. Their favorite cartoon character is stranded at the top of the wall and needs to be rescued (Dora the Explorer and her friend Diego are perfect for this), or maybe you can put a prize on the top hold, or have them ring a bell suspended from the top.
Four, adapt, adapt, adapt. You won’t have the big blocks of uninterrupted workout time to yourself that you once did when the kids weren’t around. But if you give them their turns, and if you are prepared to scrap the outing on an occasional bad day, or take advantage of the opportunity when the kids are cooperating, you can still get all the workout you need albeit at a different rate and in a different format.
Five, when you’ve got kids to share it with, bouldering is nearly the perfect form of climbing. You’re close to the ground. You can supervise them closely. Attempts on your boulder problem only take a few seconds. They can easily jump in. And you’ll get sick finger power.
Labels: climbing, kids