Monday, July 30

How to say goodbye to training wheels

For at least the last year, possibly longer, every school holiday break has seen me say to daughter number two, let's get rid of those training wheels.  The first few times I mentioned it she was hesitant to say the least.  She was quite content with the rickety old training wheels and could see no reason to get rid of them.

When she discovered scootering, bike riding became so last year that the poor old bike was relegated to the back of the shed and never looked like being ridden again.  My suggestions to try riding without training wheels were totally ignored and I was slowly resigning myself to having a child that would never ride a two wheeled bike.

This holidays all that changed though.

We were out and about, strolling through the park when we came across a mother teaching her young daughter to ride a two wheel bike.  When I say young I mean a good two years, possibly two and a half, younger than Miss Six.  This tiny little girl had just about got the hang of it.  Mum was still helping her get started but once going was able to let go and the little girl went for a while all by herself.

Miss Six was suitably impressed.

As soon as we were out of earshot of the mother and child, she informed me that she would like try riding without training wheels as soon as we got home.  Which naturally did not happen because there was dinner to cook, washing to fold and a whole heap of other things to be done that had already been put on hold in order for us to even be at the park in the first place.

Instead it took a few days till we could find some time to squeeze in a try.  Within minutes I had a two wheel rider on my hand.  Seriously, I am amazed that it was something that was put off for such a long time yet accomplished so quickly.

So with that in mind here are many handy tips on how to say goodbye to training wheels.

  • Remember this can be a long slow process.  Each child will be ready at a different stage and each child will take a different length of time to get the hang of it.  It is one of those it won't happen over night but it will happen things.
  • Patience is vital.  As is praise and encouragement.
  • Start by adjusting the training wheels so they are slightly off the ground.  This will help the child to discover their sense of balance.  Some parents even take one wheel off altogether in the early stages.
  • Once both training wheels are off spend some time holding the bike while the child rides.  Don't just let go straight away, give them a chance to get a feel for the bike and creating their own balance.
  • Choose a large area away from obstacles and traffic to learn in.  If on the grass make sure that the grass is very short, otherwise it can make pedaling difficult.
  • Always ensure helmets and covered shoes are worn.  Long sleeves and pants are optional but recommended if a fear of falling on gravel is present.
  • When choosing a bike look for something your child will be strong enough to hold and control.  Smaller is sometimes better.  Have the seat a little lower as well to ensure child can place both feet flat on the floor.
  • Have fun and enjoy this special time with your child.  You are not just teaching them a life long skill but also creating memories.