Top 7 tips for climbing with your kids

Posted by Team BMC on 06/03/2024
Image: Danielle Griffith

This Mother’s Day, here are our top seven tips for involving your progeny in your beloved pastime and (hopefully!) making it their favourite too.

Climbing instructor and coach Danielle Griffith from DG Climbing and Coaching in Wales says, “You don't have to give up climbing when you have kids. With careful management they'll be able to enjoy the adventures and experiences with you, making lifelong memories in the outdoors and friendships in our wonderful climbing communities along the way.” 

Here are Danielle’s top seven tips for involving your kids in your favourite hobby. 

Meet the expert

Danielle runs DG Climbing and Coaching, working with climbers of all abilities and ages from beginners to performance athletes. She is also a BMC FUNdamentals course provider and Head Instructor/Coach at The Boardroom Climbing in North Wales. She has experience coaching the GB National Development Squad, the Welsh Team, national competitors and university climbing teams. 

1 Make it about them

If they enjoy hanging out at the crag or wall; they’ll want to be there, resulting in more climbing for everyone! Ensure you find time between climbs to entertain them, let them have a go (safely) themselves, balance on rocks, find natural treasures, there’s tonnes you can do without depending on technology. And there are always well-being benefits from exercise and/or being in the outdoors.

2 It takes a village to raise a child

Climbing in a group ensures there’s always at least one person to keep your child safe and entertained as you share the climbing and resting. Even better, if you can arrange climbing dates with other climbing families you’ll all reap the social connection benefits. 

3 Safety

Choose crags with easy approaches for your child and safe areas to play and explore without falling off ledges or playing under loose rock. Good habits start young. Ensure you all wear proper climbing helmets - bike ones are designed differently. Spot appropriately - a small sit start pad can be useful if you have a tired or young child.

4 Prepare well

Children come with baggage, whatever their age. Make sure you pack enough snacks, layers, books, a picnic blanket, etc. Be prepared to cut your losses; if you’re outdoors and it’s cold or they’re not feeling it, bail to an indoor wall or find something else to do. Ensure climbing doesn’t turn into a negative experience they avoid. 

5 Get them scrambling first 

Boulders are great for scrambling on, learning to place their feet and balance. Using a clipstick can be useful to quickly make mini top ropes for them. Often, giving them a ‘rope boost’ to get them up a harder section can be better than an easier section with more ledges to bash into. Allow gradual exposure with fun as the focus. 

6 Choice and trust 

If they choose not to climb or want to come down, accept their decision. Forcing them will likely create resentment towards climbing. They don’t have to top climbs to see improvement, some days swinging on a top rope or playing in the dirt is a win. Building a healthy relationship with the sport comes first to better your chances of long term participation. 

7 Expectations and role modelling 

You may need to lower your expectations while they’re very young. You might find you boulder or sport climb more, which will likely improve your climbing too. Children imitate, so let them see you exercise, socialise, respect the outdoors, problem-solve, navigate failure, and hopefully you’ll raise well-rounded humans who also love climbing and the outdoors.



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