How Do You Teach Your Child to Ride a Bike?

Photo-A-Day #2364

Our friend Michele’s neighbor was getting rid of a child’s Barbie bike complete with training wheels. Well, the other day Allison got the bike from Michele and today Eva and I washed up the bike. I filled up the tires with air and it was time to get Eva’s helmet on and have her jump on the bike. She was very excited about riding a bike. I even got out Allison’s bike so we could ride together. Thing is we were only riding in the back patio so after 2 pedals I was already across the patio. Eva sort of got the idea but not really.

Let me start off by saying that I am a pretty patient guy with my daughter. The thing is I have a super hard time trying to explain the concept of pedaling the bike to Eva. The other thing is that kids bikes sort of suck. For instance when Eva is on her bike it is the kind that stops by using the pedals. So the pedals go backwards a bit and each time she tried to pedal forward and it got hard her pedals go backwards, she could not keep going forward. When she tried to turn she’d stop. So, I kept encouraging her to go forward. The problem is that I found myself encouraging less and giving orders more. It frustrated me that I could turn from encouraging to giving orders.

Our training session ended in tears when Eva attempted to stop herself by dragging her feet in such a way that if her toe caught she could hurt her leg badly. I was scared that she would hurt herself so I tried to explain to her that she could really hurt her leg by stopping that way. Because I was scared that she would be hurt I raised me voice sharply.I certainly didn’t handle it well. I scared her. I hate that I did that because I do not want to be the kind of parent who just shouts at their kids all the time. I do not like hearing our neighbors yell at their kids and don’t want to get that way myself.

After I raised me voice I felt awful and I took Eva up on my knee and told her that I raised my voice because her actions made me afraid for her safety. I don’t want her hurt so it makes me afraid when I see her doing dangerous things even if she doesn’t see that what she is doing is dangerous. So I told her how I raised my voice because her actions made me afraid. And sometimes when you are afraid of something your fear makes you sound angry. She did not want to hear it and covered my mouth. Our bike riding time was over.

So, now I’m trying to figure out how to teach Eva to ride her bike safely without getting frustrating with her or frustrating her. Anyone know a good resource for teaching kids to ride bikes or good tips?

Maybe I should have read this site first.

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12 thoughts on “How Do You Teach Your Child to Ride a Bike?”

  1. Oh my gosh my heart broke reading this:( Maybe she should start with a tricycle and get the pedaling down with that because they are a little more sturdy? It took me a long time to learn to ride a bike…I’m ashamed to say I was 12. My aunt had just had it and basically made me learn. A week later I busted my leg riding the bike and ended up in a hip to ankle cast for 6+ weeks. So take your time, Eva’s safety is your priority as it should be. Before you know it she’ll be riding her bike better than Lance Armstrong:)

    1. Mo,

      The toughest thing was that I got frustrated. She’s little and just learning so why should I get frustrated. It drives me crazy that I do that. She had tried tricycles but still didn’t get the whole pedaling thing down at all. Plus Tricycles tend to flip sideways if you cut the handlebars too sharply and Eva does that, she hasn’t gotten it down that she can turn slightly and no amount of telling will help. So I think maybe we’ll watch some videos together to see if she gets the concept.

    1. Thanks Tanya,
      You got “good daddy” from me yelling at her out of fear and frustration. I certainly didn’t feel like a good daddy after that. We’ll try again. I’m converting another small bike into a glide bike to see if that will work better for her.

  2. It happened to me when I was teaching my little sister to ride a bike. I was so scared that she might fall and hurt herself that my mom would be angry. So I told her to be careful with my voice so high that I scared her and made her cry. I agree that sometimes when you fear something, it makes you angry and impatient. After I realize I was being rude to her, I told her why I acted like that, and then I guided her riding and she suddenly gets tired and stop.

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    1. Jamie,

      It was good that you recognized your actions and were able to correct them and speak with your sister. Thanks for the story.

  3. Yeah most parents are anxious to teach their children. Shouting is involved. The anticipation of getting it done the instant you teach them is quite a forbidding barrier a parent should learn to check.
    Children got confused and the so called fear is along with it. It is amazing you explained it well to your daughter. It is a feat only a parent could handle. Via love, understanding and patience is a true virtue of a teacher parent model.
    By the way I love your child she is so cute 🙂
    Happy Blogging!

    1. Genie,
      I tried to explain it to her and hope to keep those fears and such in check in the future before I say something awful.

  4. Eva has the right shirt on for riding. If I remember right I taught you how to ride a bike by giving you a push down Knot St.( some 30? years ago)

    1. Dad,

      Eva does have the right shirt on and I love the little video we made before we started riding. I’ll show you that sometime as well. As I recall I rode into the only fire hydrant on the street. It wouldn’t be the last bike I’d drop onto the ground. I’m lucky I have a patient Dad.

  5. Hi Ben,
    What a great story and Eva is beautiful!! You must be very proud!! Sounds like Grandfather might have the right idea. Take her to a deserted street where she has more room to negotiate and I bet she will master peddling in no time flat. As worried as you are about being a great daddy, leaves no doubt that you truly are perfect!!! Good luck and thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Ann,

      Thank you. I do think we’ll get to a larger area and also I’m working on converting an older pedal bike into a glide bike.

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