My daughter recently announced that she is ready to learn how to ride a bike without training wheels attached.
As she’s five and a half I couldn’t come up with a reason not to do this, although due to the fact that she’s still known to fall off of a bike WITH training wheels fully engaged I really wasn’t going to rush this milestone. “Hmm… ask your mother” was my exact response.
Now, my wife is not one to just yank the training wheels off, put her baby on top of a hill, and give her a shove down. Even if her baby is wearing a helmet. Of course she’s wearing a helmet. I don’t want to incriminate my parents because it’s entirely possible that I was, but I don’t recall wearing a helmet when I learned how to ride a bike. This might explain why I decided being a stay at home dad is such a great idea- all of the childhood head trauma. But I digress.
What I’m saying is this: my wife wasn’t going to just leave my daughter’s bike riding to the whims of natural selection. So we took to the internet.
It turns out that the internet is not just a trove of cat videos, naughty pictures, and memes featuring Willy Wonka. It also has all kinds of tips and tricks for teaching someone how to ride a bike.
Many of the tips were along the lines of “put the kid in a helmet and push them down a hill you crazy helicopter parent”, but like I said, we weren’t digging that. So we’re trying another trick: lower the seat, remove the pedals, and let the child scoot themselves down a slight incline. This way they find their balance before they learn how to pedal.
I don’t know if this is going to work or not, but the pedals are off and the seat is down. We’ve tried this in two sessions and my daughter can now coast for a couple of seconds before coming dangerously close to kissing the pavement. I’m not advising that this is the best method. But I will say this:
Teach them balance, THEN let them pedal away
If that’s not an analogy for good parenting, then I don’t know what is.