Next to potty training and teaching our son how to tie his shoes, teaching him to ride a bike was the hardest thing for me as a mom to accomplish. I remember thinking that if I could teach our son this life skill, I could do anything! A few years later, our teenage exchange student wanted to learn this skill as well, so I got to test our method on him – what I’m about to share with you really works!
We started by taking the training wheels off the bike and made sure his bike was not too tall for him. Being able keep both feet flat on the ground is important for learning how to balance on a bike. Then we took off the pedals (yes, you read that right: TAKE OFF THE PEDALS.)
We perched our son at the top of an incline and let him roll down our driveway on his bike without pedals over and over until he found his balance. Teaching balance was hard and it worked best when we were “hands off” (which was a nice change for our backs). This took our 6 year old son a few days but our teen it took a couple of minutes.
When he was finally able to roll completely down the incline without his feet touching the ground, we put his pedals back on. Again we perched him on his bike with the pedals now on at the top of the driveway, reminded him to keep his eyes focused on where he wanted to go and voila. He took off!
Secret Hint :: We started in the early spring when wearing a coat, pants, and gloves was encouraged not simply to stay warm, but to keep him from skinning his knees and elbows should we fall.
Ice cream and extra playtime on his electronics were wonderful motivations.
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