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Sports and physical activity are critical components of healthy development for all kids, and we think rock climbingis one of the best! Below is our list of 10 ways that indoor rock climbing can help your kid. Read on and get excited!
Building confidence is learning by doing. Confidence isn't taught, but rather something your child must experience by being allowed to safely explore outside of their comfort zone. Rock climbing gives your child the opportunity to make choices and decisions in the process of physical activity in a safe environment. Learning from the choices they make gives them confidence in their independence and decision making skills, and promotes their self esteem.
The idea of being suspended in air can be pretty scary, but with indoor climbing your child can face that and other fears head on. They have the safety of a harness, so "falling" is just swinging out from the wall, which can actually end up being kind of fun. Most importantly, because they are constantly supervised in a totally safe environment, they are able to take responsible risks and learn how not to be afraid while they are on the wall. Climbing builds self-reliance, and empowers your child to make important decisions on their own in the moment.
Problem Solving Skills
Rock climbing is like a giant puzzle; there are so many different ways to the top and your kid gets to figure out how to get up there. It makes every climb unique and full of possibilities. As your child's climbing skills improve, they start to follow more "difficult" paths up the wall, challenging them both mentally and physically. Its the activity that grows with them and always compels them to find creative solutions.
Mental and Physical Focus
Climbing is a hustle! It requires both physical strength and mental focus, but it also teaches you to conserve energy and make practical choices. Do you go for the wide grip to the right because it gets you higher? Maybe, but by the time you get to the overhang you might be out of energy to get to the top. Then you might find a new path that allows you to stay closer to the wall and save some strength. The point is, it's a sport that forces you to use your mind and your body together to determine the most efficient path, physically and mentally.
Climbing is a full body activity and helps your child hone coordination. It requires all muscles to work together to lift, twist and propel the body across and up the climbing wall, as well as some fancy footwork skills. It also sharpens hand eye coordination, and the ability to judge distance and depth with a glance. The practice of maneuvering up a climbing wall naturally develops functional coordiantion skills that crossover to all sports and physical activities.
Strength and Flexibility
Strength and flexibility are natural byproducts of learning to climb. Your child will build core strength and flexible muscles that allow them to swivel and balance and execute challenging moves to progress to the top. Rock climbing will also teach them that being physically "strong" is not the only thing that makes a good climber. They learn to compensate for not being able to maneuver in the ways that stronger climbers can by learning to climb "smarter". These skills are a vital part of all sports as well as valuable life lessons.
Learning that fun and fitness go together
Rock climbing is just fun. Period! It is also a highly interactive physical fitness regimen that masquerades as play time. That means that kids start to associate physical activity and fun at an early age, creating excellent habits for a healthy lifestyle as they grow up. Physical fitness is essential at all ages, so making that connection when they are young keep your kids more likely to stay active throughout their lives.
Sure, when your child is actually climbing its really about them and the wall. However, the group experience of a climbing class also teaches them to share. All kids take turns climbing, and they learn just as much from watching their "teammates" make their own decisions on how to get to the top. There is also a sense of comradery built as kids are able to celebrate their accomplishments and learn to deal with their setbacks together.
Indoor climbing is really a two part procedure: one person climbs, while the other belays, or manages the rope that connects to the climbers harness. Learning to belay is an important part of climbing, and a skill that builds trust and a sense of duty. The belayer is responsible for the safety of the climber, and taking that on requires significant confidence in both oneself and one's counterpart.
Climbing is an endurance sport. It's all about the long game, especially when you are starting out. Getting to the top isn't easy, and it can take some time. It's taxing physically and mentally. Because of that it's a sport that really enforces motivation. Your child will learn the drive of wanting to make it to the top, and once they do they will continue to set new goals with each climb.
Can these lessons can be learned other ways? Of course! The key is that kids often learn best when they discover things on their own instead of just being told. Getting your kids involved in any sport is a great way to help them learn these skills. Finding he right fit may just take a little trial and error. Indoor rock climbing might just be the perfect activity for your kid, so sign them up for a class and find out!
| Sasha DeJaynes
| Leah McClure
| Niki Bezzant for Fit Planet
| Chicago Athletic Clubs
| Chicago Athletic Clubs