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Why climbing trees is important for your child

Child development

Why Climbing trees is important for your child

Climbing takes brain power

As children growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, we used to play outside a lot.  Climbing on jungle gyms, riding bikes, climbing trees etc.  We had no problem getting in and out of a tree.  Fast forward a few years and I find myself standing in front of a tree, trying to figure out how I am going to get up, and more importantly, how I am going to get down.  See, I joined this outdoor fitness group and it’s really amazing.  It challenges you physically but more so it challenges you mentally.  As I was watching the others getting up and down the tree, I realised something.  A simple thing like climbing in and out of a tree, even with little steps added to make it easier, requires not only physical strength, but it makes your logical brain work in ways that you don’t realise. 

What goes up must come down

Join Amric Fitness Training to challenge your body and your mind.  Fun outdoor fitness that will help you get fitter, stronger and healthier.

Most of the people got up pretty easily, but when they were up in the tree, they suddenly struggled to find a way down.  You could see their mind working trying to figure this thing out.  Some got it right, and others had to be guided down.  This whole experience taught me one important thing:  Children need to climb trees.  Learning to make decisions while you are up in a tree, feeling scared because you think you are stuck, is extremely important for developing problem solving skills under pressure.  It is something that some of the young people in our fitness group struggled with.  Figuring out how to get out of a tree was an extremely difficult thing for some of them to do.  The older people in their 40’s had it easier to get out even though the younger kids were fitter and stronger. 
Children need to develop their skills through climbing.  Climbing develops more than their physical muscles.  It promotes brain development, problem solving, decision making and working under pressure.  
As parents we tend to overprotect our children.  In some cases this does more harm than good.  For example if your child is in a tree or on a jungle gym and he can’t get off, do not immediately go and take him down.  Rather direct him.  Teach him to make a plan to come down.  Guide him by asking questions like ‘where do you think your left foot must go to get down?’, or ‘can you find an easier way to tilt your body to get down etc’.  This guidance will teach him to think and to solve problems and will improve his learning skills.

climbing trees & jungle gyms improves:

  • Physical strength
  • Decision making
  • Logical thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Working under pressure

Quick Reminder: Safety comes first.  Always make sure that you supervise your child while climbing.  

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Creating kindness in your child

Recently there was an insert on CNN about a $20 million donation to the UCLA College to do research on kindness.  The research will include exploring how witnessing acts of remarkable kindness can cause an uplifting emotional experience that in turn motivates the observer to be kind.“Our vision is that we will all live in a world where humanity discovers and practices the kindness that exists in all of us,” said Matthew Harris, the foundation’s co-founder and a 1984 UCLA graduate. “Much research is needed to understand why kindness can be so scarce in the modern world. As we seek at Bedari to bridge the divide between science and spirituality, through the establishment of the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute we hope to educate and empower more and more people in the practice of kindness.”

This study really made me think.  Is kindness such a rare event these days that people have to study it in order to help people be kinder to one another?  When you think about it, it sounds absurd.  But then I viewed my everyday surroundings, and I was shocked. 

The first acts of unkindness I noticed was on the roads.  As I was driving I realised how impatient people are on the roads.  People drive fast, swerve in front of other cars and bully other drivers.  Driving on the tail of other cars is a daily occurrence. Besides the obvious fact that this is extremely dangerous, it also amounts to bullying and setting a very bad example for your children.  It also shows the narcissistic nature of society.  

Another example of the unkindness of society I noticed recently was the story of a woman who’s car broke down in peak traffic.  People could see she was in trouble but honked, cursed and yelled at her.  In the end it was only a taxi driver that helped her while everyone else got angry because she was in their way.  

There are many stories out there that shows the unkindness of people, but instead of focusing on that, let’s teach ourselves and our children to be kind:

  1. When driving with your kids in the car, be kind to other drivers.  Give them space, don’t drive too fast and don’t curse and yell at other drivers.
  2. Always greet people respectfully no matter if they are hobos or CEO’s.  Show the example of treating all people with respect. 
  3. Easy on the gossip.  We tend to gossip about others without even noticing it.  Rather talk about the good in others.
  4. Show acts of kindness.  Help someone to cross the street.  Visit an animal shelter or old age home.  Pick up garbage and throw it in the bin to be kind to the environment. 

By showing kindness we teach our kids to be kind.  

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