Rock Climbing for Children: What are the Benefits?

What’s so great about rock climbing for children? When children approach a certain age, parents start looking to engage them in activities that are not only beneficial for physical health, but also significantly stimulate and nourish the mind. Traditional sports like baseball or football are some of the most common options, but rock climbing for children is something that doesn’t usually come to mind.

Rock climbing for children is generally stereotyped as being dangerous and risky by many parents, however, that is not the case. Rock climbing has proven to be much safer than the aforementioned sports. And there are many effective precautions one can take in order to ensure a child’s safety.

If your kids have reached an age where they are brimming with energy, zooming around and crawling up the walls, it is a good idea to consider letting them channel this energy into some actual rock climbing.

Five is the ideal age for children to start rock climbing since this is the age when they are not only keen on discovering new things, but are also capable of following instructions. Let’s take a detailed look at several benefits of rock climbing for children.

girl rock climbing indoors
Courtesy of The Adventure Gypsies

Rock Climbing is Adventurous

Kids love adventure. Even as adults, the idea of rock climbing sounds exciting and exhilarating. Just imagine how fun it must be for the kids. Whether it is indoor or outdoor, rock climbing is a fun-filled activity that kids can enjoy while building stamina.

In an age where most children are confined to couches with their eyes glued to all sorts of electronic devices in the name of entertainment, it’s great to have an activity that forces them get up and engage with the world while having tons of fun. Now that’s what I call true entertainment.

You can also join online communities and platforms that connect people who love rock climbing.

Rock Climbing Boosts Confidence

Rock climbing for children is an activity that requires both physical and mental strength. When a child looks at the rock climbing wall for the first time, he or she may feel a little nervous. However, seeing the other children climbing up confidently and having fun instills a sense of curiosity and a can-do attitude in a first-timer.

When children finally decide to step out of their comfort zone and make their way to the top of the rock climbing wall step by step, their fears slowly begin to diminish. Even if they climb halfway or just a few feet, this newly achieved accomplishment is enough to swell them with happiness and pride. This further helps to enhance their confidence and self-esteem in other areas of life as well.

Rock Climbing Builds Endurance

Rock climbing for children is a great way to build physical strength and endurance. Children will be engaging their arms, legs and core while attempting to conquer the rock climbing wall. It is, undoubtedly, a total body workout for children that increases stamina.

The natural movements of climbing a wall strengthen the arms and legs, and help children develop stronger muscles. This further progresses them on the path to achieve a lean and athletic body in the long run.

Rock Climbing Polishes Problem-solving Skills

Rock climbing is not about mindlessly lodging your feet into the holds and grips then calling it a day. It requires devising a strategy and planning a route that best helps you conquer the wall. Determining the problem and visualizing a map to solve that problem is imperative to succeeding in rock climbing.

During their first few attempts, your child might feel a bit too overwhelmed with the many possible routes and end up confused between decisions. But don’t worry, with time and practice, they will be able to make better judgment calls and become efficient in navigating their way up to the top.

Considering all that, it’s safe to say that rock climbing for children truly enhances their problem-solving skills and decision-making abilities.

Rock Climbing Improves Communication and Social Skills

Rock climbing can also be a non-competitive sport. Although in most cases the only person you are up and competing against is yourself, this activity still requires communication and listening skills – especially in the case of belay which is fundamental to safely scaling a wall.

Belaying is a climbing technique that involves a belayer who is responsible for holding the climbing rope and controlling its tightness to prevent the climber from falling too far down. In that case, your child is likely to climb with another person. For a safe and fun climbing experience, the communication between the climber and belayer is extremely important. They will both need to listen and follow each other’s instructions. This practice will significantly improve your child’s communication skills in the long run.

A rock climbing facility is also a giant social playground. In addition to building strength and confidence, rock climbing for children is also a great opportunity to hone their social skills. Starting from constructing a trusting relationship between climber and the belayer, this activity also helps children observe and learn from fellow climbers.

They learn the etiquettes of sharing a common space and walls while being considerate of others and engaging in polite interaction. They learn to work with others, to listen, and to offer help and ask for it when needed. Plus, they get to make new friends and watch out for them. The social benefits of rock climbing for children are abundant.

children rock climbing indoors
Courtesy of redtri.com

Rock Climbing Combats Stress

Amidst the constant competition of achieving more, even little children could be facing pressure and stress. Sitting around idle or burying oneself in digital devices adds to the stress and anxiety levels. Activities that stimulate both the body and mind while also offering some degree of social engagement are the best means to combat stress.

Rock climbing is a fun, safe and non-competitive way to promote physical strength and mental toughness while keeping stress at bay. When you begin rock climbing, you need maximum concentration and focus to chart out a map to the top. All outside influences and stressful ideations will naturally leave your mind. You will be fully focused with your mind engrossed in solving the task at hand.

While climbing, leaping and reaching the top, you will experience a sense of elation while stress takes a backseat. This practice will help your children to be in the moment and forget about routine problems, eventually improving their mental health.  

Rock Climbing Improves Motor Skills and Coordination 

As mentioned before, rock climbing is a full-body workout. In addition to engaging muscles, rock climbing for children is also beneficial for improving their motor skills. Not only does it incorporate every muscle group and help in strengthening the tendons, but this activity also enables children to improve their hand-eye and feet coordination.

In order to scale the wall and get to the top, they have to plan carefully. Every step is important. They have to look at the chosen spots and coordinate movements between their hands and feet to reach the handholds and footholds. After a visualized map, coordinated movements are the only thing that helps them achieve their goal. While children grow and change, rock climbing is an excellent way to teach them coordination, stability and balance.  

Rock Climbing Teaches Patience

Parents complaining about their children throwing tantrums and generally being unruly is not an uncommon occurrence. We are living in an age of instant gratification where everything is readily available and instantly consumable. In times like this, patience, discipline and fortitude are hard to come by, even in children that have approached an older age.

While it may be an unconventional way, rock climbing can teach children patience and focus. A rock climbing wall is full of curves and countless handholds and footholds, navigating which requires ample patience and perseverance. This activity teaches children they can’t have everything right away, and in order to conquer the wall, they need to work to get to the top of it.

They also learn discipline along the way, since even a fun activity like rock climbing for children has some rules. Most gyms make it a point not to allow running around. Harnesses, helmets and the other rock climbing equipment always need to be used properly and returned to their places when finished.

Children also learn not to walk under or climb over fellow climbers. They learn to respect and take turns on the wall instead of always wanting to be the first. This kind of community-building is bound to instill in them a sense of discipline that otherwise might not develop.

girl rock climbing indoors
Courtesy of AHealthierMichigan.com

Conclusion

If you hadn’t thought about it before, it’s time to consider it now. Instead of subjecting your children to the typical mainstream sports, consider an out of the box activity with a massive community behind it that’ll help your child excel.

Rock climbing for children is slowly gaining popularity for the many benefits it offers. From building muscles and boosting confidence to improving coordination and enhancing social skills, the benefits of rock climbing are numerous. The best way to give your children a taste of this exhilarating activity is to get them enrolled in a rock climbing program near you.