On a Friday sometime before Christmas, we decided to get rid of K's training wheels. We figured this 5 year old could tackle the task. Heck, there are kids on this street shorter than her riding on two wheels already. Anyway, she wasn't too happy about that. She kept falling down and was really frustrated. There were tears and lots of grumbling. Minimal cuts and bruises.
What is a parent to do?
1. Make sure the seat is low enough for the feet to reach the ground. This was my main mistake. Initially, the seat was a little high and she had to tiptoe to reach the ground. Thank goodness Daddy came to the rescue and got it lowered. Definitely reduced the falling down episodes.
2. Keep drilling into their mind that it will take a while before they get it right. To succeed there needs to be determination. Encourage the "I can" and the "keep trying, don't give up" attitude.
3. Praise even the smallest achievements e.g. "See, you got going for half a second."
4. What instructions to give? I only gave 2:
- when you push off, make sure the pedal is in the up position.
- move the bicycle first before you try to balance. It's easier to balance when the bicycle is already moving.
5. Do you need to hold the bicycle from behind to help them balance? Not necessarily.
Towards the end of her first session on two wheels, she was able to hold her balance for like 2 seconds. That made the smile come back to her sour face. Nothing beats the taste of some success. It brought hope back into her darkened world. Anyway, she woke up early Saturday morning and the first thing she did was grab her bicycle. You wouldn't believe it, she had gotten it! She was cycling at the back of the house where there is a cement court, and she was going straight and turning and maneuvering like a pro. What can I say? She proved to me that anyone can move from training wheels to two wheels overnight. And here I thought it would take a few days. Way to go girl!
Next in line, little D. We'll give him another year or so on those training wheels. Be ready my son!