Apr 20, 2012

Teaching a kid to ride a bike or "I am afraid of traumatizing my child"

As parents, we think about our child's life in terms of milestones.  

First words, first steps, first time using the toilet, first lost tooth, first day of school... firsts are important to us moms.  As our kids get older, culturally speaking, there are many "firsts" that are expected.  Things like learning to swim, playing a sport (Little League or Soccer anyone?), and riding a bike are on the short list.  

I know that not all children know how to swim, some because they live in places where it snows all year long and there is no swimming pool.  I was a competitive swimmer and water polo player.  My kids know how to swim.  

I never played a ball sport.  Other than in P.E., when I was forced to, I have never been especially passionate about playing, watching or being involved with land sports. Don't get me wrong, I find football and basketball to be very entertaining to watch (when they are played by professionals), but I hope my kids swim, dance, run, play instruments and other non field related things.  Therefore, my kids are not now, and will likely not ever be, in Little League or Soccer.  Some people look at me like I am insane when I tell them this.  Some are secretly jealous that my husband doesn't care about sports as much (or more) than me.  I feel pretty okay with this one, those around me might be tempted to call CPS, but my kids will not die for lack of being on a "team sport". 

However, I have a confession to make.  

My almost-9-year-old and almost-7-year-old can't ride their bikes.  It's strange, considering we know people who have kids the same ages as ours and they started when they were 4 or 5.  We've been talking to them (especially my older one) about it for a few years.  He was never really interested.

We tried briefly at the end of the summer last year and it ended in tears and frustration, and my then-8-year-old wasn't too happy either. I took those training wheels off and had visions of him jumping on his bike and just taking off down the middle of our street, or at least of me running alongside him as he got his bearings and letting go, and off he would go.   

It didn't go that way.  

AT ALL.

He kept falling. He kept getting really angry at his bike.  If he would start moving, he would crash into something or inexplicably turn the handlebars on the bike and fall over. 

There was much groaning, sweating and crying.  Ultimately he gave up and went inside to play a computer game or build with Legos or something he could control.   So that's why I said I am afraid of traumatizing my child.  I want him to learn to ride a bike, but I don't want him to look back at the experience as a time with a lot of pressure and fear and have to go to therapy about it.  In all seriousness, I know that my kids will be okay eventually (after therapy).  

So this is the year.  He is turning 9 next week. It's now or never (no pressure right?) 

So I did what I always do when I am at the end of my rope (other than pray I mean), that's right... I Googled.  I just typed "How to teach a kid to ride a bike" (wish I thought of it last year... but who needs directions on how to teach a kid to ride a bike!?)

I found this really great website (with a video) and took their ideas and made it into a step by step tutorial for those who are too lazy to go look over there.  I am so hopeful about what I learned, I hope you all either have those freaky kids who come out of the womb riding bikes, or are able to take what I learned and learn it too!  

So here it is: Teach your Child to ride a bike in 8 simple steps.


Or you can just watch the video from the REI website, they allow you to share such knowledge! SWEET!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, my dear...my 7 year-old has no interest either and I have been disappointed with that...and am a little embarrassed for him and me! I feel like I've failed him by not taking enough time to teach him. To top it off, my 3 year-old nephew just took off without training wheels, and I'm like, um...HE can do it...anyway, you're not alone...this made me giggle at the sheer fact that we're not alone in it either! :oP Love you!
    -Layne

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