Just 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity every day, improves concentration and social skills in children and adolescents according to the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. One potentially brain-friendly exercise you can do together with your 7 to 10 year old child is rock climbing. If you can make rock climbing fun, you will not have much trouble convincing your kid to go rock climbing with you. Just incorporate things your child loves into the activity and they will take to it like a duck takes to water.
But first choose a crag
A rock climbing gym introduces your child to rock. After that you will need the right gear, providing extra safety for your child when you start training them in the outdoors. You will find very short crags and rocks at Larapinta trail or Kakadu National Park that your child can practice climbing. The child should wear gloves and a full body harness to prevent them from falling out. A climbing crash pad should be at the base of the cliff just in case the child slips. As they get more confident or older, you can move on to more difficult climbs, for example crags that are 9 meters or 18 meters tall. The crags should not be too steep and your staging area should be at the base of the cliff.
Playing the “pre-check climbing system” game
Play the pre-check climbing game before you start climbing the wall. The game could include you asking questions like “Is your harness on correctly?”, and If the child says “yes”, you can test their harness to see if it is on correctly. Then ask the child “Is mummy’s harness on correctly?” and when you say “yes”, let the child come and check your harness.
Do this for all the other safety devices in your climbing system. The game will teach the child to check everything every time you go climbing. The child will stick to the ritual even when they are old enough to start going with you to tougher rock climbing destinations around the world.
Turn your child into a Superhero
You can set up simple climbing obstacles during rock climbing and then tell the child that they would slay a monster if they can beat those obstacles. It could be as simple as taking three steps up the crag. If a superhero story is no longer exciting, introduce a fantasy game storyline or a princess story into you rock climbing activity. That will keep them from getting bored. Better yet let them be the ones to decide what storyline you will play out the next time you go out.
Before long, the kid will be the one getting you out of bed every weekend so that you can go on a rock climbing mission. Do not push them too hard or make the climbing hardcore because this is not about breaking their spirit. It is a clever way to make the kids improve their balance, flexibility, general strength and brain function.