Born to Climb part II. Kids and Climbing – well-being
7 Ways climbing encourages your kid's mental and personal development.
Climbing means concentration. Climbing has often been described as yoga on the wall and it is all about single mindedly living in the moment. Not in front of a screen.
2) Problem solving
Working out how to get the next handhold, even with the encouragement of the instructor means a combination of visual and motor planning to figure out where to go next and what will work. A good climbing gym (like, ahem, Push) will take that a step further with games and challenges to get kids thinking harder about how to make it to the next level.
Because climbing is about challenging your own limits, without having to challenge other children it's a great way of building confidence. Anyone who's seen the smile on a kid's face after scaling a route will agree with that. Where team sports can seem daunting to the less competitive, climbing is just you and the problems to be solved. Which is great for kids and their confidence in their own problem solving abilities as well as their body's ability to complete the task.
4) Overcoming fear
We see lots of people at Push who are here to confront their fear of heights. We've got the odd instructor who came into the sport for that too. Climbing is a safe way of learning about the fear of falling and overcoming it in a controlled environment.
5) ...including the fear of failing
Failing is part of climbing. Failing in a safe way could mean that hold you just can't reach, or it could be falling safely onto our climbing pads or trusting to the instructor on the belay. It's really positive to learn that failing and falling is all part of getting better. It's also really reassuring for parents that failing and falling in the gym doesn't mean injury.
6) One with your body, one with the natural world
Gym climbing is a sport in itself and one that teaches kids about what they are capable of. But it's also a gateway to encouraging an appreciation of outdoors.
7) Active kids perform better at studies.
There are dozens of studies that show physical activity also helps kids concentrate and problem solve in other fields including languages and maths. Studies abound to suggest that even 10-20 minute bouts of exercise led to a major improvement in maths skills compared to sedentary students. There are so many studies about this that 59 of them were rolled together in one scientific report as a meta study to see if there were common findings. That report found that: “Results indicated a significant and positive effect of physical activity on children's achievement and cognitive outcomes, with aerobic exercise having the greatest effect.”
Words by Steve Shipside
Photos by Vũ Ngọc Quang