5 Tips for Climbing with Kids
Updated: Nov 21
Rock climbing is the perfect activity for kids. It lets them be adventurous, challenges them to think outside the box, and, most importantly, tires them out! As any parent, guardian, or caregiver would say, a tired child at night is an accomplishment worth a reward.
But what if those parents, guardians, and/or caregivers want to enjoy rock climbing themselves? Ideally, the world would have free babysitters, or rock gyms would have free on-site daycare programs. However, that’s wishful thinking. So, what are the realistic and economically feasible options for successfully climbing as a parent when you have to tow your kids to the gym?
Here are five solutions should you find yourself in that very situation! Read through them, and hopefully, walk away with one, or many, that will work for you and your kiddo
5 Ways for Successfully Climbing with Kids
1. Get the kids involved!
The most important thing to remember is to review safety procedures and gym etiquette with them. If you try a climb and leave them unattended for a few minutes, they mustn’t wander off and walk under another climber or fling chalk everywhere. Or worse, run around the gym, putting their safety and the safety of others at risk.
The bottom line is that this option can be great for making your kids feel included while allowing you to climb still. With a little bit of direction and supervision, kids as young as 5 or 6 can enjoy easier boulders. Before you know it, they will be climbing circles around you!
2. Climb with other climbers who are also parents (or climb with your significant other).
If you are a regular at your climbing gym or follow local climbers on social media, ask/post if any other parents want to climb together.
This way, you can take turns keeping an eye on the rambunctious children or help them climb while the other adult can sneak in a few auto-belay laps or boulders. It may also work out that the fellow parent-climber is up for splitting the babysitter cost with you. If that’s the case, you can climb completely child-free and get a climbing partner out of it!
Another way this method can work is if you and your significant other are both into climbing. Make the climbing session a family outing, alternating who gets to climb and who gets to supervise the kids.
3. Sign them up for a kids' program at the climbing gym.
We recognize this might only be available at some indoor climbing gyms, but many larger and newer gyms have well-designed kids' climbing programs. There are likely various weekday or weekend options for classes, and each will last at least one hour (sometimes up to two hours or three if they join the gym’s youth climbing team).
This option may surpass option one if your kids are comfortable doing group lessons because you and your child will be able to climb during their class, but you won’t have to supervise or help them out!
4. Climb early in the morning
Many climbers with kids find that heading to the gym early, before the crowds, makes it much easier to navigate a climbing session. Whether you are a weekend or weekday climber, getting up early for a gym session is not only a great way to start your day but can reduce stress while at the gym.
5. Increase the frequency of climbing sessions but decrease each duration.
Kids are tiring. Climbing is tiring. Put the two together, and you get exhausted. But, a solution to that problem, if your children are joining your climbing sessions, is to up the number of climbing gym visits per week but reduce the time you spend there. Many climber parents have success with climbing for only an hour at a time!
Do you have any trips for climbing with little ones? Let us know in the comments below!