As the end of the Summer is here, there are still some warm and sunny days that we can take advantage of & do some fun things with kiddies. Why not learn how to ride a two-wheeler?
First off let me say that I was more scared than my 7yr old was when it came time to teach her how to ride a two-wheeled bike. When we first started last summer, we would ride around the block close to our house in case of any falls and cuts that needed immediate attention. Her balance was unsteady of course and I had to hold on to her bike seat and handlebars bars the entire time (my back was so sore!). What really had me in my feelings about it was the thought that I wouldn’t be a good enough teacher. Not getting out enough on the bike last Summer, and then came Winter, I was scared that she would take a long time to learn if at all. And then the day came: she took off on her bike & never looked back to the land of training wheels! It was sudden & amazing! As I watched her ride away down the
neighborhood sidewalk I realized that in just a few lessons (tremendously spaced out) that I am now the proud mama of a two-wheeled bike rider! Yay!
Read on for tips & tricks on teaching your mini to ride a bike!
Step 1. Woosah! You can do this! Let the training wheels off your own mind & envision your big-lil kid gliding on their two-wheeled bike. We create an anxiety in ourselves without even realizing it & block ourselves from going forward with what we know needs to be done. Let’s remember our kids feed off our energy so let’s give them some calmness & confidence to fill themselves with!
Step 2. After taking that deep breath and being calm and preparing them with knee & elbow pads, and of course a helmet, a helpful option is to take one training wheel off. It can gradually allow your child to feel what it will be like without all the support of both the training wheels while still having the back-up safety of the other one still on. It also helps build their confidence that they are well on their way to no training wheels at all!
Step 3. ‘Shock’ therapy. If your child is anything like mine, she’ll tell you she’s ready to take off the training wheels right away and get started. The shock approach works for her so this worked in our favor. While required to hold the handlebars and help steer or hold the back of the bike seat, this method can help your big-lil kid build even more confidence that they can do it. Plus, it further builds that bond of trust between the two of you as they know you are there supporting them & cheering them on.
Step 4. If they are getting better at balance but still really afraid of falling, take them to an open grassy area. In this case, when they fall, the impact isn't so hard and they get a real understanding of the phrase, ‘Hold the handlebars steady!’ With the advice of my avid bike-riding brother (who also taught me to ride a bike as a kid), my actual plan on the day my mini-me learned to ride her two-wheeler was to take her to a field near our local park. But before we went there, I wanted to see if she was rusty from the last time we went out last Summer. Needless to say she was hardly rusty. I gave her some advice which leads me to Step#5.
Relate the action of riding a bike to an activity in their everyday lives, such as their favorite race car game or watching an acrobat on a tightrope. For my daughter it was gymnastics. She loves the balance beam and has amazing upper body strength. I told her that day to imagine the bikes handle bars as the balance beam and in order to not fall off she has to keep her hands & arms steady. That was all it took. I helped her get steady and
when she wasn’t thinking about it, I let go & she kept on going! Looking back over her shoulder she realized she was doing it herself & was so excited! We did it!
To celebrate, we went for slushies. Simple and tasty and she enjoyed every drop!
Watching my daughter sail off on her two-wheeled bike with confidence was one of the greatest moments for me as a parent. It was like was like watching her take her first steps all over again. As parents, we worry a lot about the progress of our kids. Will they understand what we are teaching them, and more importantly, will they apply it? Our kids soak up more
than we may know & it's important to give them the right tools they need. The 5 steps listed are not certified, but they are definitely parent-tried & true. Be patient with your child & have fun with it! Of course, you will need a box of bandages and antibacterial ointment handy for
falls and scrapes, but dust the kids off “encourage them to get back on the saddle!” They will thank you for it!
Feel free to write back & share your stories on your experience with your little one and their bike-riding tales. Let me know if you tried any of the above steps and if they worked, or if you have other steps to add that is great too! The more the merrier. Happy cycling!