Teaching a kid to tie his shoes or ride a bike can easily turn into a battle of wills, maybe even the tears will start – hard to tell if it will be theirs or yours – feet may get planted and refuse to budge an inch (more often my size 10’s than her size 1’s) and
you start wondering if it’s wine-o’clock yet frustration billows like a cloud around you both.
Your conversation may go something like this:
Kid: I can’t.
Mom: You can.
Kid: I won’t.
Mom: You will.
Kid: I don’t want to.
Mom: But you’ll be so happy when you do.
Kid: Will you give me a dollar if I try?
Mom: I’ll let you clean your room.
Kid: Can I have candy?
Mom: You may have an apple.
Yes, there are apparently 13 kazillion syllables in a simple 3 letter word when uttered by a child not getting their way.
But, I have a tried and true method for teaching a kid to ride their bike without all the drama.
Ride a Bike without Training Wheels
Kid tested, mother approved.
Step 1: Do not get them a bigger bike. Yes, you read that correctly. Do not buy them a bike that is the right size for them. This isn’t like shoes. A small bike won’t stunt their growth or cause corns.
You want to keep them on that 12 inch wheeled bike until they get the balance down. Even if their knees are in their ears when they peddle, the smaller the bike, the easier for them to learn.
**I learned this one the hard way. It took until the 4th kid before I figured it out after watching the older ones struggle and then my son just hopped on his bike one day (at 3 years old) and rode it down the street. His teeny tiny bike that I was thinking he’d outgrown but I was waiting until Christmas to get him a new one.
Step 2: Raise the training wheels up as high as they go and leave them that way for at least a month. When you see your child ride their bike more than 20 feet without the wheels touching down, they are ready to come off.
Step 3: Don’t be afraid to put them back on. If you take the training wheels off and your child gets scared, or frustrated, put them back on. Try again in a month after your child has a chance to ride for a bit while practicing riding without hearing the wheels.
Step 4: Find a friend. Find one of your child’s friends that just learned to ride their bike without training wheels and invite them over for a playdate – one that just happens to include riding bikes. Step back and see what happens. Often the friend teaches your child how to do it without any of the angst we parents sometimes bring to new challenges.
Step 5: Share the news. You may find yourself posting pictures of your beaming child on Facebook, or even writing a blog post about it. Maybe that’s just me. Regardless, let everyone know about your child’s accomplishment. They will be so thrilled that you are sharing their success with others. Want proof? Just look at her smile.
*Disclosure: I was paid in smiles, hugs and happiness pouring from C’s pores after teaching her to ride her bike without training wheels this past Sunday.