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How can you help your child through NICAS and develop as a climber?
Climbing is a fantastic activity for both cognitive and physical development. NICAS in particular provides a structured learning process and a focus for achievement that can be particularly good for developing learning and concentration as well physical movement, and is a great way of building confidence!
So how can you support your child in trying to improve as they progress through NICAS? The most important thing to remember is that there’s no need to rush through the NICAS scheme. If anything, rather than rushing through to get to the next level, the longer they spend at each level the better for their long-term development. There’s lots of way you can support climbing development outside of their NICAS classes to help boost confidence and support them to improve.
Developing climbing movement
As well as practicing climbing movement on the wall, you can help to support climbing movement development at home. At a young age, the best way to help a child develop their movement, regardless of their favourite sport, is to help them try as many different sports and games as possible. This allows them to develop their agility, balance and coordination in a variety of different situations. Climbing utilises the whole body and a wide range of movement, so varied practice will all then feed back into climbing movement.
Practicing skills such as belaying and knot tying can help reinforce learning and help children to progress in both confidence and their NICAS learning. It can be trickier to do outside of lessons without equipment, but there are still lots of things you can do! Practicing knots is easy, you can use any bit of rope or string to get them practicing their knot tying on themselves and other people. And if you don’t have a harness at home, talking through the process of belaying with them; getting them to explain how they set up a belay device and how they belay someone, will help them cement the skills in their mind.
If you’d like to know more to help support your child’s skills practice, chat to their instructor who will always be happy to help or get some practice in first-hand and learn to climb with us!
This NICAS endorsed book which comes with a cord for knot-tying practice can also be a great way to reinforce learning at home.
Climb with them!
One of the best ways to develop their climbing is to climb in a casual setting. And without realising it, the more they climb the better and stronger they’ll become. Climbing with your child offers them the chance to reinforce their climbing outside of their structured session, and to practice and to enjoy climbing with family.
Want to know how?
If you are already a climber yourself then that’s great – you can bring them down anytime and climb with them. If you’re not yet a climber – we can help!
Climbing is a great sport to get into no matter your age and we have all the appropriate classes to help you learn the key skills. We have classes that teach you how to boulder safely and supervise children while doing it. Classes to teach you how to use the roped walls safely and if you’re already a top rope climber but your child is lead climbing in NICAS 4+5, we have classes that also teach you to lead climb and, more importantly, lead belay.
It’s really important at all levels but especially from Level 3 onwards that the kids are experiencing climbing outside of their weekly lessons, and at level 4+5 it’s a requirement that they do this. This can be done with you if you’re a climber but if not and they are over 14 they can take our Unsupervised Access Test, which, if they pass, allows them to use the centre unsupervised and on a pay as you go basis like adult climbers. This is a great way for them to gain independence and socialise with other climbers their age.
Got any questions?
Get in touch! Climbing is what we love to do and the team are always happy to help support your climbing journey!