#vizyourkids ~ keep kids safe

Danger of the month: Climbing trees

Pokey branches, chance for concussions – leave ’em to the arborists


Hug a tree? Why would anyone want to do that?

Well, sure, I guess if you’re hugging it, it won't hurt you . . . at least not at that exact moment. But, let’s face it, trees are sinister. With their gnarly skin and grabby branches, I don’t understand why kids would want to hang out in them. Then again, children aren’t the best judges of character. (Unless it comes to clowns. Kids typically know that clowns are freaks.)

But back to trees. These things are bad news and that’s why climbing trees is the latest Danger of the Month.


6 Reasons not to climb trees


  1. Climbing trees takes strength. Let’s face it, today’s kids spend so much time on devices, they have neither the endurance nor strength to get up in a tree safely. Before your child is ready to tackle such a thing, I suggest you enroll them in some sort of gym class, heck they may even learn how to fall and roll.
  2. Climbing trees requires concentration. Again, if a kid still complains about being bored when they have an iPad, tv and computer in their room, how can they possibly have the ability to focus or concentrate long enough to climb a tree?
  3. Climbing trees boosts self-confidence. Until they fall. Then like their frail little body, their confidence will plummet to new lows. Better to protect them from having that as a consequence.
  4. Climbing trees require problem-solving abilities. The reason you are a good parent is that YOU are a good problem-solver. Why would your kids even have to learn such a skill?
  5. Climbing trees necessitates a need for flexibility, literally and figuratively. Isn’t that asking a little much? Not only does your kid need to be able to bend, move, wiggle and contort their body, but they also need to do the same with their mind to actually succeed in climbing a tree. Sure, climbing a tree can help form new and more complex neural networks in the brain, but so can texting with your non-dominant hand. That just seems like an easier means to an end to me.
  6. Climbing trees has to happen in the outdoors. Rain, wind, cold, bird poop, ugh. You get the picture.


How to help if your child is up a tree without a paddle


Mixed metaphors aside, this is not a good situation. Hopefully, it won’t come to this but, as they say, “kids will be kids,” so maybe an ounce of prevention will be worth that pound of cure.

Presumably, you will be hovering over your child when they are outside playing, but if you need to avert your attention from them due to an important text or Facebook update, your child should know some basic facts.

Start with a small, healthy tree that has several strong branches, testing each limb to ensure it doesn’t bend under the pressure. Climb up a little and then climb down and do it again. Unlike with a nice, safe slide, going down is always harder than going up. Use hands and arms for grabbing and guiding and use legs for pushing and climbing. Don’t let your kid move unless they have at least one strong foot or handhold. Ask them if they feel safe or if they feel like they need help.


Like I said, hopefully, you won’t need to use those helpful hints about climbing trees. After all, what kid wants to have to go outside and get moving to experience a shot of self-esteem and be transported to another place?


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