Teaching your children how to ride a bicycle is something that we can and should do as parents, and all it requires is a little bit of our time, some patience and just will!
This year my 4 boys received new Schwinn bikes. My older boys got just what they wanted, mountain bikes for trail riding and the twins Sebastian and Cristian graduated to new 20 inch bikes with no training wheels! They did very well with their SmartStart bicycles, so we didn’t expect to have any problems with the transition and felt that they would get it really fast. Our first attempt did not go as well as we thought it would. we tried on the sidewalk in front of our house since our street can get pretty busy sometimes but we didn’t have enough space due to our neighbors cars being in the way. The boys took a beating that day and after the 3rd or 4th fall decided they had enough. I felt they had gotten a bit discouraged but I continued to tell them how well they did and let them know that with more practice they would eventually become great riders.
It took them about a week or so before they came back around and wanted to ride again. Since then, we put in about an hour a day and they both have gotten so much better.
This past weekend we decided we would head on to a park near the house which we all love to go to and take the twins bikes with us. There is a gazebo there that sits on a small hill and we thought that perhaps the boys would feel safer if they rode through it into the grass area and not have such a hard fall. So before the twins got started, first thing they did was put on their helmets as we’ve taught them from early on that safety comes first.
Cristian was first: I held on to his back seat and ran with him as he pedaled through the gazebo, once we got through it I released him and off he went. He did pretty good and rode a little bit but lost his balance and fell. He did this several times and lost interest and wanted to stop. I didn’t push him to keep going. I found that it’s better to let them work up the courage on their own and re-try when they feel they can do it.
So next came Sebastian: I did the same thing with him…..ran behind him holding the back seat and releasing him at the end of the gazebo and……..The magic happened he rode and rode and rode and rode for what seemed like for ever! This was the coolest feeling ever. The more he did it the braver he got. Eventually we went to a spot where he was able to ride on a sidewalk and he did awesome. He fell several times after that and took some good hits but got right back up and kept going. I was so proud of both of them.
Now that he has accomplished this, next will be learning to break and turn……We may need the knee and elbow pads for this step!!
If you are a parent and your little one is learning to ride here are some tips and things to keep in mind:
• Live this moment, enjoy every second! Most likely it will be brief and unrepeatable.
•The beauty of this process is that we are with our little one(s), sharing valuable time that will have a lasting effect on your child, instructing him/her, giving him/her support and sharing an important achievement.
• Try to be as calm as possible so you do not to transmit your fears. Think that he/she is capable of doing it and if it doesn’t work out the 1st time: let them know it is ok and nothing happens, they can re-try another day when they are ready, but let’s try to make this experience rich and positive.
• Be patient, and let them ride at their own pace, they will let you know when they are ready. Cristian has done great but is still holding back a bit, I think that perhaps several more practices and he will overcome his fears.
• Listen to your child, as he/she gets braver little by little they will tell you to let go and you will be able to see that they are capable on their own.
• Your children will fall (many times) but just be there for them and re-assure them that they are doing a great job
• Jointly celebrate this new milestone in your life which is a beautiful moment that your child has been able to share with you.