Climbing trees makes for stronger and more intelligent children
April 14, 2015
We are big believers in our house about letting our children explore their own physical boundaries. Climbing up the slide is only one of those explorations. Climbing trees, using the swing set as a climbing structure and allowing the kids on the roof (with us right with them, of course) are some of the ways we allow our kids to push their limits.
I truly believe that when kids are allowed to explore their limits, they learn where and what they are and are much more equipped to make intelligent decisions about what they can do and what they might not be ready to try yet.
When we impose the limits for them, and decide for them what they are able to do, they do not develop that innate concept of “I am able to do that” or “I am not ready for that yet”. I’m no scientist, and haven’t done any hard data collection, but I believe children who are NOT allowed to push their limits, and yes, GASP, hurt themselves slightly on occasion, actually end up hurting themselves MORE. I believe this is because they do not know what they are, or are not, capable of, and so they may push themselves WAY beyond what they are ready to do out of peer pressure.
I have also learned that every child has their own limits. My daughter is more of a dare-devil than her somewhat cautious brother, which means her comfort level with pushing limits is different than his. And while that, I’m sure, is going to give me more grey hairs than I had wanted before I turn 40, its also ok and really cool to watch her push her body and succeed! I am truly in awe of her physical abilities and her confidence in them. She just KNOWS what she can do, and she is always pushing the limit of that to get stronger.
On the other hand, our son is the big brother, and sometimes our daughter’s “limit pushing” also pushes him to try things he might not have. Our son is cautious by nature, and a little bit of a push is sometimes a good thing for him and pushes him out of his own head talk of “I can’t”.
We are lucky enough to live in a community where tree climbing (even of the spruce variety), slide climbing and monkey bar gymnastics is not only allowed, but encouraged. And the kids in our community are strong and fit and confident in their abilities. At the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want?