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How to Climb a Tree

Teach your child to climb a tree safely

The childhood urge to scamper up a tree, climbing limb to limb with wild abandon, is natural. What is not so instinctive is the know-how, particularly for climbing down. And how does a grown-up who hasn't scaled a barky trunk in eons offer any helpful tips — or even bear to watch?

On the Ground:
Coach your child to scout out branches that are thick enough to hold his weight. How far apart are these branches? Get him to imagine the tree as a road map, with a first rest stop for a hand, then a foot, and so on.

Going Up:
Find a branch that's high enough so that he can use it to pull himself upward, then go ahead and have him take the first step. Keep asking your child whether he feels secure, and reassure him that you're there to help. Your child will either reach a dead end — no branch within reach — or you'll exclaim, "No further!" Perhaps it's time for one of those life lessons? In this case: The journey is more important than the destination.

Coming Down:
The key to a safe descent is taking it slow and maintaining a strong grip with the hands as the feet seek out lower branches. If a foot slips, the hands will save the day, so the child can reach the ground safely, look up at the tree, and exclaim, "Again!"

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CeReality: 5 Families, 5 Stories, 1 Critical Meal

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