Humorous Quick Reads About Families With Kids

Teaching a Child to Ride a Bike – The Nikki Bond Method

Published September 29, 2020 in Kids Activities - 0 Comments
teaching a child to ride a bike

Teaching a child to ride a bike frustrates and delights the teacher. Kids love the freedom once they master the skill of riding. But getting to that point challenges the patience of the teacher and the child.

teaching a child to ride a bikeRecently, I spent weeks training my four-year-old grandson how to ride a bike. I did not research the best way to teach my grandson. We just got outside and started trying.

After several weeks of effort and frustration, he learned to ride independently. Below are the steps we followed to success at pedaling down the sidewalk.

Step 1 Lean on Someone

My grandson’s 15-year-old brother wanted to help teach. So, he held up his little brother as the four year old (4yo) began to learn. In the beginning, Big Brother did all of the work. Look at the video below and notice that initially the little one isn’t even pedaling!

Soon the 4yo began to move his feet. He successfully propelled himself forward, but he lacked balance. Big Brother caught him as he wobbled from side to side. The teenager tired of this slow learning process and handed the job over to Grammy (me).

For a view of our early efforts at training, see Exercise for Kids – Who’s Getting the Workout?

Step 2 Mount and Pedal Alone

Initially, I held the 4yo upright by placing my hands in his armpits. This way I could aid his balance without interfering with his pedaling or steering. After a brief time, he balanced mostly on his own and I just provided a safety net.

Since he was riding successfully, I decided it was time to teach him to get on the bike unassisted. He took hold of one handle and the seat. Then he attempted to throw his leg over the seat. Perhaps the bike was too large for him because he had difficulty with this step. I reminded him to grab both handles and he mastered it soon.

We practiced every day and before long, he only required my hand on his back to steady him. Occasionally, I pulled my hand away and he threw on the brakes immediately. He rode and balanced just fine, but he required my touch for confidence. We needed an extra push.

Step 3 Race for Inspiration

One day as my husband limped across the street on his arthritic feet to video our riding lessons, my grandson made a boast.

“Pa Paw is tired and slow. I can beat him.”

My husband quickly picked up on the challenge.

“I’ll run and you ride your bike. Bet I can beat you!”

“No, you can’t Pa Paw. I’m faster!”

So, the 4yo started pedaling and Pa Paw walked alongside. Every time my grandson stopped, Pa Paw egged him on. Finally, the boy got so caught up in the competition, I was able to remove my hand from his back. He continued pedaling, intent now, not on Grammy’s hand, but Pa Paw’s position in front.

Step 4 Ride Alone

After a few races with Pa Paw (which the 4yo won), Little Brother rode confidently on his own. No longer held back by Grammy’s walking pace, he sped down the sidewalk. The grin on his face reflected his sense of accomplishment.

Step 5 Start Off Unassisted

The bad news is Little Brother cannot start the bike on his own. Once, Grammy gives him a little push, he’s off to the races. But every time he stops, he requires a restart. This gets exhausting when we go for a ride.

I stand behind his bike and help him get started. As he pedals down the street, I run to my bike. Pushing up the kickstand, I hop on the seat and start pedaling. Before I catch up with him, he puts the brakes on.

“Grammy, I need a drink of Powerade,” he says as he reaches into his basket. (The basket was a reward for learning to ride on his own.) So, we pause for a drink.

He sucks down some fluid and tosses the bottle back in the basket. “Grammy, come start me!” I climb off my bike and we start the whole process over.

Step 6 Bonus for Teaching a Child to Ride a Bike

Did I mention that my 15-year-old grandson never learned to ride a bike? His father tried. His aunt tried. I tried. He never had any interest. It didn’t matter that we were all willing to buy him a bike and teach him. He didn’t care.

teaching a teen to ride a bikeSomething happened the first day Big Brother helped Little Brother start learning to ride. He asked me, “Do you think Pa Paw would let me ride his bike?” My husband hadn’t ridden his bike in 15 years. It lay in pieces in our garage. Many times I volunteered his bicycle for the church garage sale, but my husband resisted.

Now, the bike had a purpose. We took it to a bike shop. A new seat, a tune up and $300 later, the bike qualified for riding again.

I showed off the renovated bike to the teen. He displayed apathy. I discovered a video about teaching an adult to ride a bike. He showed mild interest. I played the video for him. He watched.

Fifteen minutes later, “Grammy, come see what I can do!” I watched in amazement as this reluctant rider rolled down the street. He rode around the neighborhood and made a discovery. “Bike riding is fun! I love it!”

We got two for the price of one on this bike teaching deal.

Take a look at the video I showed my teenage grandson for teaching an adult to ride a bike: How to Teach an Adult to Ride a Bike.

Also, for a much quicker approach to teaching a child to ride a bike, see Teach Your Child to Ride a Bike in 45 Minutes.

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