Tips on teaching your kids rock climbing

By Stef Zisovska
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Rock climbing is an excellent workout for grownups and kids. It may look hard, but then everything does at the beginning. Still, with a bit of effort, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results. Give everything and everybody time, and don’t expect your children to become rock climbers overnight. Take all the time in the world to plan an introduction to climbing for all your family members. This is not only because of safety concerns. It’s also to give everybody time to get used to the new outdoor activity. Be patient and follow these useful tips on how to teach your kids everything they need to know about rock climbing.

Learn to climb yourself

Climbing gym

Every ambitious parent who wants to produce a rock climbing champion should get comfortable with the ropes before bringing along the kids. Setting up top ropes, building anchors, cleaning routes, setting up harnesses and belaying are some of the basic skills that you as a parent can learn by taking outdoor or indoor climbing classes. It’s important to understand what it is you plan for your kid doing. Climbing gyms are a perfect starting point to overcome fears and resolve all doubts. Taking climbing classes together with your kids is also very helpful.

Know the equipment

After taking the basic lessons at the gym and climbing with a group in the outdoors, it’s time to organize a climbing weekend with your family and gather the necessary gear. If you don’t plan on climbing every weekend, then maybe you don’t need to buy everything, but rent it instead. Here’s what you need to have.

  • Well-fitting whole body harness per climber or belayer. Make sure it doesn’t fall off over your child’s hips.
  • A helmet is an absolute must, and you better buy these for every family member. If it slips around the kid’s head while they are moving, adjust it to the right fit. It’s crucial for your child’s safety.
  • One rope per 2 two climbers.
  • One belay device.
  • Climbing shoes and biking gloves ( if you don’t have any other)

Outdoor climbing safety

Kid climber

Safe climbing is the only way you can do it when kids involved. Don’t you even think of taking risks or avoiding these safety tips:

  • Find a safe base camp. A place far from any potential rock edge, a place where you can rest, eat or play.
  • Make them wear the helmet all day.
  • The belayer is not a babysitter. Make sure that there is a belayer for the youngster who is climbing and someone who looks after the kids that are not climbing. You can’t do everything alone.
  • Always do a pre-climb safety check. 
  • Extra adults are always welcome. You need one to lead the climbers, one belayer, and one to take care of the other kids. A friend that prepares snacks and takes photos is always welcomed.
  • Arrive early to select the route that most fits your family. 
  • Climb, don’t hike! Don’t forget that you and your family wanted to rock climb, not to cross rivers or walk across rocky terrain. Avoid exhausting your kids before you reach the climbing point.
  • Get back to the car before nightfall. You don’t want to hike back after light fails, with tired kids around you, right? Plan ahead and start the return back early and you’ll avoid complaints, sad faces, and panic attacks.
  • Bring a lot of food and water. Toys and books are also needed to entertain the kids that are waiting to climb. 

Rock climbing is awesome! Try to get all your family members to join you on the next climbing adventure. Good luck and stay safe!

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