Teaching Your Kid to Ride a Bike Prepares Them for Life (Sort Of)

Have you ever been completely annoyed at your own parenting? Occasionally I'll have this kind of out-of-body sensation where while I'm saying something -- and sounding like a grandma from a sitcom -- I'm simultaneously rolling my eyes at myself.

My husband and I recently taught my 6-year-old daughters how to ride bikes. It was an intense and not all that pleasurable experience and it came with a huge self eye roll.

My usually chill kids were incredibly frustrated with themselves for not picking it up immediately and possibly more frustrated with us for not being better teachers.

To be fair, running hunched over alongside a child who is pissed off and covered with tears and snot while simultaneously attempting to not kick their bike's tires or to not get your feet run over, is a lot harder than it looks.


I wish I'd asked around because after the fact, friends offered all sorts of helpful advice. Get one of those peddle-free bikes first, for example, so they can learn to feel their own weight.

Instead of holding onto the bike seat, or worse, the handlebars (I did both) hold onto the child's shoulders so you're not compensating for them. You're welcome.

The only funny part (if there was one) was that we found ourselves shouting out biking advice that doubled as saccharine life lessons. The kind a thousand Lifetime movies could be based on and the kind that I fully expect my kids to tease me for at a later date. For example:

"You think you need me, but you don't."

"Always look where you're going, never look down."

"Balance is everything."

"Steer around the bumps."

"You don't need training wheels, you only think you do."

"Stay on the path."

"Brake when necessary."

"The faster you pedal, the shorter the road."

"Patience takes practice."

"Helmets are supposed to be tight. Don't worry about your hair."

Did it go smoothly when you taught your child a new skill?

Image via ianus/Flickr



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