Phase II Learning to Balance
This is the hardest part. Getting your child to feel like they can stay upright without putting their feet down. You can add a gentle push if they need a little more momentum. It is also helpful to do this where there is a slight decline. A useful tip might be to track how far your child was able to go and encourage them to go a little further every time. I also used a few of those glow in the dark cones to give her markers and help her set goals for herself. (Hey, the construction guys never picked them up so I figured...hmmm might as well put them to good use.) Another way to measure distance is to use chalk to show starting and ending points or to have them count the number of sidewalks. You could also use these ideas for phrase 3.
I ended up only doing phase II for a day, but in retrospect should have taken a few more days. Don’t expect your kid to want to spend an hour doing this. I feel it’s more effective to do this in blocks of ten minutes. This will keep both you and your kid from getting too frustrated. I also used a few of those glow in the dark cones to give her markers and set goals for her.
Phase III Put the pedals back on
First off, I need to explain that I am an uptight person who sometimes expects instantaneous results (it’s the gym teacher in me). There were times Emma would start crying “I can’t do this anymore”. “I want my training wheels back on.” I remember a few times picking up that bike and saying that we were done for the day, as Emma was following me close behind screaming “no daddy I promise I'll listen, please don't put my bike away. “
Practice Makes Perfect
Teaching your kid to ride a bike is kind of like potty training. Once you say no more diapers or no more training wheels...don’t go back! I told Emma she was gong to learn to ride a bike and the training wheels were not going back on. There were a few meltdowns along the way, just like potty training. At the end you smile (this was hard for me, it's that gym teacher part) and say it was all worth it. And there's always tomorrow if things don't go that well.
Emma is four and not the tallest kid in the world. She gets lots of compliments on her riding ability. That beaming smile on her face goes from cheek to cheek as she says, “mom what did that person say about me?.” But she's fully aware of what they've said. I'm happy for her because biking is a great activity. Kids get a lot of pride and satisfaction from learning to ride on two wheels. Plus, she loves the independence of riding her bike. Agree?
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