Sep 9, 2011

Teaching Your Child to Ride a Bike-for Dummies


There a couple of parts of parenthood that I was not looking forward to. No not poopy diapers, late nights, the first "I hate you Mommy", homework, or even trips to the grocery store.

Nope.

The parts I was terrified of...well they are the parts that would most likely prove I have absolutely NO clue what I am doing. They would prove I have just been flying by the seat of my pants.

Three of those things I can think of right off the bat are-
potty-training
pulling a loose tooth
and...
teaching a child to ride a bike

Potty training has come and gone twice...they aren't permanently damaged and now I feel better...just slightly...about the process.

I have had to pull three loose teeth...still hate it and cringe inside every time, but I get 'er done.

Teaching a child to ride a bike...that one was turning out to be an utter failure and a completely frustrating experience. We just couldn't seem to get the concepts taught. We tried pushing him down a hill (not a really hard push...). We tried holding on to the back of his seat and letting go (horrible experience...does this really work?). We tried encouraging..."you are a smart kid, you can do it". We tried tough love "get up of the driveway, shake it off". I am ashamed to admit we even used the "you don't want to be the only kid who can't ride their bike" ...insert head hanging in shame now...

Nothing worked. Especially with my child who has a little anxiety (sorry son, you get that from me).

Nothing worked until we got some advice from my SIL's parents (they live here). Their advice was something I had never heard of. It was worth a try...

Well guess who is riding a bike now?!?!





I tell you what...just after finally getting in this house this is the next most exciting thing in our lives right now. After almost a year of trying off and on to help Oldest ride his bike, he is now a full-fledged bike riding machine.

AND Middle is just behind him. 

Now we have two little bike riders in our household.

SO now that I have shared my woes and joys, I want to share with you our new teaching a child to ride a bike method. 

The big secret...take the pedals OFF the bike. Yup. Take those suckers off. Take them off and lower the seat down as low as it will go.

Then you let your learner first just scoot around on his bike. Seriously, just let them scoot and glide.



'Cause you know what? The hardest part of learning and teaching to ride a bike is balance. This method totally accomplishes that.

For day or two let your little one roll around on their bike. We started our boys on a slight hill (our driveway) and let them glide down it. Once they started getting the hang of it, we challenged them to see how far they could glide with out their feet touching.

Once they could do that comfortably (for Oldest a long afternoon for Middle it took a couple of days), put the pedals back on.

NO joke, in the very first try with the pedals Oldest was off and pedaling.

AH-mazing.

It took a little longer with Middle, BUT it still worked.

Now we have two very happy bike riders. Now we have another way to encourage them to be active. Now they have another way to play with the neighborhood kids.

Now they have a relieved and ecstatic mom and dad.

Now we just need to work on stopping, a little...just a little.

That's nothing though.


Nothing compared to the joy of learning how to ride a bike...and to being able to teach how to ride said bike.

17 comments:

Kirsten said...

Hey....that is pretty good advice! We started our kids on flat grassy areas. Parks, yards, whatever. Somehow they weren't as afraid of falling and got it right away. I'll have to remember the pedal trick for my niece and nephew!

Jeff & Michelle said...

Brilliant! Now I just wish there was a trick for potty training that was just as easy! ;)

Stockhoff Family said...

I am so proud of you Mommy and Daddy, brilliant idea by the way, go L and C!!! Now if bikes could just come with those wheels that stop themselves at whatever given place parents wanted them too. You know like shopping carts supposedly do.

Two Dollars said...

My 6yo wouldn't let us take his training wheels off his bike. He had done scoot bikes and we knew he was ready, but he just wouldn't let us. I had scheduled him for daycamp for a week with Campfire Kids and they happened to have the "bike guy" come a number of times through the summer and he came 3 times the week my son went. The "bike guy" had my son on 2 wheels the first time out. The things kids will do when their parents aren't around! ;)

Shauntell said...

First of all, I am so glad that your oldest is just now learning. We have been having the same lack of success with Rebecca (same age!) and I was afraid she was the only one who didn't know how to ride yet! Part of this very last weekend was spent with an exasperated Dad holding onto the back of her bike! So now, we will try your advice and see if it works for her too! YAY!

Michelle said...

That's exactly how my husband taught my daughter how to ride a bike... She "got it" in just under an hour! I'd never heard of that method before, but it sure works.

Keri Oke said...

wow what great advice. thats awesome. ty my oldest got the hang right of the bat but our second boy is very anxious as you described so I will try this. sounds great. hey speaking of advice for dummies. this dummie needs help and advice on how to pull those darn front teeth out. youre right its one of those "I have no idea what he heck im doing" moment us moms get. My oldest has two front teeth that have tuened grey and are dead because of all mommies dummie ideas. man those suckers just wont come out. LOL

Kiera said...

can't wait to try this TONIGHT (once the temp is under 100 we'll go back outside!)...and don't worry we must have graduated from the same horrible parenting class of, 'you don't want to be the only kid your age not riding a bike?'(my husband and I laughed out loud knowing we weren't the only ones that have damaged our kids this way!)...yep, we said the same thing and it also DIDN'T work!...shocking...
our daughter totally learned to ride with the running next to her holding the back and then letting go...the boy is SO not falling for it...it's been over 2 months of trying and nothing.

Cinderella, the A-Train and Our Little Caboose said...

Well, this is a little piece of wisdom even I didn't know! I am sure the boys are just as glad to be riding their bikes as you are for them! Awesome.

Larissa said...

Thanks for all the comments guys. Glad that some of you are in the same boat I am!

Keri-so I have used a light piece of cloth once and the very first time...I um...use a tiny pair of pliers to grab hold. TOTALLY worked. That is what my parents did for hard to grab teeth. My son was totally fine with it.

Melissa-I got this idea from your parents!!!

child central station said...

Thanks for the great advice! I can't wait to try this out ;). We've been struggling with this too.

Chris, Kristina, Nathan and Audrey... said...

Thank you so much for your "lesson". We are in the process of teaching our 3 year old to ride without training wheels. Will definitely be trying this method!!

The Deelo Family said...

I just posted this to our MOMS Club.

Larissa said...

Awesome. I hope it helps other Moms out there like it helped me!

Abbie said...

Wow, that sounds like an amazing idea. When I taught Ethan to ride a bike I read to hold the kids shoulders (instead of their seat) or wrap a towel/sheet around their midsection and hold onto it in the back. That way they learn to balance better on their own.

Iris said...

This is common practice in Germany, many kids own a 'run bike'. You can start as young a 1,5 to 2 years (besides, very comfortable for walks, as you are way faster; even useful for grocery shopping). The price seems high, but if the bike gets used by four kids I guess it's ok ;-)
http://tricyclekids.com/1690/balance-bikes/glide-bikes-mini-glider/

Larissa said...

Wow Iris, that is interesting. Who knew? Thanks for sharing!

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