6.5 year old WILL NOT ATTEMPT to ride a 2 wheeler!! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 47 Old 04-11-2010, 07:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm having a frustrating time trying to get my 6 and a half year old to ride his bike with no training wheels. We have an older child, and so we've been through this before, but my present 6 year old is just reallllly hesitant to try much at all. He wants to be able to ride, he just doesn't really want to take the 'risk' of learning.

Any magic suggestions on getting him to ride? The training wheels are off his bike but he keeps swiping his little sisters little Thomas the Train bike (that still has training wheels on it), and riding that around.

Help!!
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#2 of 47 Old 04-11-2010, 07:23 PM
 
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Take the training wheels off his little sister's bike and encourage him to try coasting down a hill on it. If it's small enough, he won't have to worry about falling, because he can just put his feet down if he starts to lose his balance. Once he can balance on that, encourage him to try pedaling instead of just coasting. Once he can do that, have him try it on his own bike.
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#3 of 47 Old 04-11-2010, 07:38 PM
 
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Maybe just put the training wheels back on his bike and wait for him to be ready to try without them?

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#4 of 47 Old 04-11-2010, 07:44 PM
 
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Would he be interested in a balance bike?
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#5 of 47 Old 04-11-2010, 07:46 PM
 
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My DD was the same way. She's now 9.5 and just recently learned how to ride a two wheel bike. She is not a very adventurous child and is hesitant to try new things, especially at a younger age. She's recently become more willing to try stuff (like the water slide at the Y) and once she was ready, she learned to ride a two wheeler.

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#6 of 47 Old 04-11-2010, 07:59 PM
 
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Maybe just put the training wheels back on his bike and wait for him to be ready to try without them?
Yeah, that. I have a naturally cautious child who wasn't ready to ride without training wheels till she was 7. And not "barely 7" or anything like that. She was approaching 8. And now she rides great.
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#7 of 47 Old 04-11-2010, 08:03 PM
 
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I'm trying to understand why it's so important that kids ride a two-wheeler at a certain age. If he wants training wheels, let him have training wheels.
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#8 of 47 Old 04-11-2010, 08:53 PM
 
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My son wanted to learn on his fifth birthday - and he did. His twin sister has no desire to ride w/out the training wheels and that is alright. She told me recently she wants to keep the training wheels until she is ten. She is normally the more adventurous of the two; she's content riding slowly w/training wheels. She says she can look down at the flowers while she rides and not fall.

My neighbors have a 'rule' that their children must ride w/out training wheels prior to their fourth birthday. I've seen them go through their 'training' with several of their children. Not a pleasant experience for their children or those of us that had to see/hear the process. They are thinking of teaching their youngest (2.5yo) this summer.
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#9 of 47 Old 04-11-2010, 08:56 PM
 
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eh-- i'd drop it until he was ready. i didn't learn to ride until i was 8 or 9, and am no worse off. and really, what's the worst that could happen if he ended up never learning?

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#10 of 47 Old 04-11-2010, 08:56 PM
 
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Does he have a 2 wheel scooter? If not, that's a good way for him to learn to balance on something he can have more control over.

This is the method we used with both our kids and it worked really well:
http://www.ibike.org/education/teaching-kids.htm

Take the pedals off, let them learn to coast and balance, just as others have suggested. Then you can build up to pedaling and turning.

FWIW, ds was 7 before he learned to ride and one of the neighbors was 9. Some kids need longer to learn. (Dd learned at 4. She's one persistent kid!)

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#11 of 47 Old 04-11-2010, 08:58 PM
 
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Maybe he has some gravitational insecurity going on. I really don't think you should worry about this at all. He'll ride when he's ready.

Maybe he'd like a scooter, which is closer to the ground, or maybe he'd feel safe riding behind you on one of those copilot bikes that attach to the adult bike?
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#12 of 47 Old 04-11-2010, 09:00 PM
 
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I really don't see the point of forcing it. It's a bike. It's supposed to be fun.
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#13 of 47 Old 04-11-2010, 09:05 PM
 
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Will he ride if you hold onto the front and back to steady the bike? If not then I think you should let him develop at his own pace. It is hard to be compared to your sibling and come up short and it doesn't create a loving sibling relationship. He may be scared of heights, he may not like the out of control feeling, or he may not like the high pressure and stressful feelings that come with each session of bike riding. I don't think it is odd that he doesn't want to ride before he feels ready. Scraping yourself hurts a lot and I try to avoid losing skin and bleeding also. Maybe he would like some lower intensity sports or riding while still feeling safe.
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#14 of 47 Old 04-11-2010, 09:18 PM
 
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I didnt ride without training wheels until I was 12.

What difference does it make if he has training wheels or not?
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#15 of 47 Old 04-12-2010, 02:08 AM
 
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Maybe just put the training wheels back on his bike and wait for him to be ready to try without them?

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#16 of 47 Old 04-12-2010, 05:41 AM
 
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I don't see the big deal either. I vote for putting the training wheels back on and letting him enjoy riding a bike. He'll learn to ride with them when he's ready.
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#17 of 47 Old 04-12-2010, 05:47 AM
 
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Put the training wheels back on - sooner or later a peer will make a comment and/or his fears will decrease and he'll want to be rid of them. It's supposed to be a fun activity, not a trial, for any of you.
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#18 of 47 Old 04-12-2010, 10:36 AM
 
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Put the training wheels back on. I did not learn how to ride a bike until I was in 4th grade. It has not affected my life one bit. even at that age it was never a big deal.
My daughter started riding when we told her that her training wheels were not even touching the ground anymore so in fact she was riding. My son started riding when a friend came over and he tried her bike.
Have fun!

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#19 of 47 Old 04-12-2010, 10:39 AM
 
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Don't worry, he'll do it when he's ready. My 8.5 yr old has no interest in learning to ride w/o his training wheels. And I just can't worry about it anymore. If he really wants to learn, he will. It's that simple. He hates that he gets left out because he's the only kid in the neighborhood that can't ride a 2 wheeler. He'll work up the courage on his own one day.

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#20 of 47 Old 04-12-2010, 11:38 AM
 
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Maybe just put the training wheels back on his bike and wait for him to be ready to try without them?
My 8 1/2 yo still has the training wheels on. He can balance just fine (the training wheels bend up after a while) but he likes them. I don't get why people think extra wheels are bad. Most adults go around on 4 wheels, too .

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#21 of 47 Old 04-12-2010, 12:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by velochic View Post
I'm trying to understand why it's so important that kids ride a two-wheeler at a certain age. If he wants training wheels, let him have training wheels.
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Originally Posted by NiteNicole View Post
I really don't see the point of forcing it. It's a bike. It's supposed to be fun.
This. My son learned to ride without training wheels when he was nine years old.

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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#22 of 47 Old 04-12-2010, 02:05 PM
 
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Another vote for putting the training wheels back on and waiting until he indicates an interest.

My ds was 7 when he learned - and it was fast. He'd had a scooter for a couple of years, was doing flips at gymnastics, but just wasn't ready to have the extra wheels removed until he decided it was time.

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#23 of 47 Old 04-12-2010, 02:08 PM
 
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Well I think YOU need to let HIM tell you when he is ready to ride without training wheels. He is clearly not ready yet.
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#24 of 47 Old 04-12-2010, 02:17 PM
 
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I agree with most of the other posters. I didn't learn until I was like 10, and never fell once. Scrapes and bruises didn't appeal to me at the time, so I just skipped that part.
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#25 of 47 Old 04-12-2010, 04:54 PM
 
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My ds is almost 8 and he just learned to ride a two-wheeler after years of trying. He's one of the last in his peer group, and I think that encouraged him.
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#26 of 47 Old 04-12-2010, 08:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OK OK OK.

First this. The reason I want for him to master this skill is that he wants to be able to ride up and down the street with his big brother, but I will not allow it when he's on a bike with training wheels. The training wheels make a lot of noise, which in my mind constitutes a safety concern. We live on a very quiet, closed crescent, but still I wouldn't want him to not be able to hear what's coming up behind him. And that leads into the whole 'being left out' issue as every kid on the block rides up and down our street, including kids who are a good year and a half younger than my little guy.

Anyways, thanks MDC mamas for going all hardcore judgy on me, but really, believe it or not, I'm not as evil as you wish. Kiddo is just fine. He just really wants to be able to ride with his brother and his friends, which means that he really needs to get a handle on the two wheeler thing. Sheesh, what backlash. Yuck.

And um... he's WAY too big for a balance bike. I just got one for my three year old. My 6 and a half year old is tall, and he weighs like 60 pounds.

Okie dokie folks. Thanks for the suggestions, the sarcastic holier than thou feedback, and the entertainment in general. I guess I'd better get back to pressuring my kid to do something so obviously beyond his grasp.

And amateur child experts. Google "Vygotsky, Zone of Proximal Development" sometime.

Peace!
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#27 of 47 Old 04-12-2010, 09:55 PM
 
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Honestly if he really wanted to ride with the gang he would probably be more aggressive in learning. Instead I would oil his training wheels to reduce the squeek and ask that a friend always ride behind him to listen for cars (are there that many on a dead end street anyways?) Forcing him to learn might backfire and turn him off to bicycle riding all together.
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#28 of 47 Old 04-12-2010, 10:06 PM
 
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Honestly if he really wanted to ride with the gang he would probably be more aggressive in learning. Instead I would oil his training wheels to reduce the squeek and ask that a friend always ride behind him to listen for cars (are there that many on a dead end street anyways?) Forcing him to learn might backfire and turn him off to bicycle riding all together.
Great advice.

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#29 of 47 Old 04-13-2010, 02:32 AM
 
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I'm going to be the lone voice of dissent. I didn't learn to ride a bicycle until I was older and it really stunk. I missed out on a lot of really fun stuff because of fear. I wish I had someone who had encouraged, maybe even pushed, or - better word - guided me to work through that fear. But once I finally got on one without training wheels, I learned how truly easy it can be.

While I would never force my child to do something (and I don't think that is what you are talking about), I do think it is important to sometimes gently push our children to take steps out of their comfort zones in a safe way.

Again, I do not condone forcing kids to learn how to ride. And I'm also not one who believes that kids "need" to learn at a young age. My oldest ds learned between 6 and 7, and my 6 and 4 yo dc still have training wheels.

With my oldest ds, I encouraged by making lists of all the cool stuff he could do and then helping him schedule time to work on practicing and doing it with him. A few days of concerted effort was all it took.

Of course, if it has become a power struggle between yourself and your ds I would take a huge step back.
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#30 of 47 Old 04-13-2010, 02:49 AM
 
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I know quite a lot about Vygotsky, having an advanced degree in the education field and he was all about providing scaffolding and support while presenting new things to the child, to help them stretch to greater abilities. It sounds to me like you're not keeping enough Vygotskian scaffolding in place to enable him to reach this new skill. He wants to know the possibility of training wheels is there if he needs it, and knowing it's not there as an option makes it impossible for him to stretch enough to learn the new skill of riding a 2 wheeler. You've taken away too much scaffolding too early.

If he both says and demonstrates that he "will not attempt it," then put the training wheels back on, let him know that you're willing to take them off whenever he'd like, but that the family rule is that he can't ride in whatever spot until he can ride without training wheels. Then don't harrass him, nag him, or point out how others can ride there and he can't; and don't give in to any whining on his part about how he wants to ride with his siblings, and he'll be ready to do it, probably sooner than you think.

My personal guess is that if you let him know that he can have training wheels back but cannot go in blah location with them, he might just decide not to have you put the training wheels back on. He might want the training wheels back for 1 day to 3 weeks, to make sure that you aren't going to remove the scaffolding of your moral support and the physical training wheels again before he's prepared for it.

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