If you don’t know the first thing about rock climbing, it can be intimidating even thinking about how to get your kids climbing. Here are our top 9 tips.
1. Keep it fun – Clip n’ Climb is a perfect way to start your kids climbing. The climbs are fun and colourful, with different challenges. The Ladder is always a hit with the young ones, and as your kids progress, there are several challenges on each wall to keep them interested. The automatic belays mean you don’t need to worry about safety or how to use technical equipment – you can even join in yourself!
2. Start ‘em young… but not too young – although Clip n’ Climb is suitable for age 3 years and up, we really recommend waiting until your kids are a little older – around 5 years old is best. Then they are old enough to understand the rope systems and have the strength and height to succeed on all the different walls.
3. Progress at their own pace – every child is different and they’ll let you know when they are ready for the next challenge. Soon enough they’ll be eyeing up the Sport Climbing Wall for some ‘real’ climbing and you’ll be learning to belay before you know it!
4. Join a club – the Cliffhanger’s Climbing Club is a perfect way for your child to develop their passion as a rock climber. They’ll meet other kids and learn safe climbing techniques under the supervision of experienced coaches
5. Have someone else teach them – they’ll whinge less, gain more confidence, and be more open to learning new techniques and other points of view from another adult.
6. Learn as a family – push yourself out of your comfort zone and start from scratch together. Soon your kids will be egging you on to try the next climb, or reassuring you that it’s ok to trust the auto-belay to lower you safely to the ground. When they see you overcome your fears they’ll feel empowered and inspired to try all sorts of new things.
7. Bring snacks – yup, bribes work, whether it’s a quick treat for reaching the toy lizard at the top of Clip n’ Clip or a snack at the end of the session, don’t let them get hangry or the fun will soon be over for everyone!
8. Get the right gear – we all have our own stories of struggling to learn a sport in gear that wasn’t quite right – whether it was that bike that was too big or those hiking boots that gave your blisters every time. Your kids will enjoy climbing so much more if they have the right kit. Check out the kids specific harnesses from Black Diamondwhich are simple and sized for their bodies.
9. Get outside – once they’ve mastered the basics inside, head out into the great outdoors. Wanaka has some of the best outdoor climbing in the country, as well as the best climbers. Once they see the experts in action on some real rock, their inspiration will be endless.