5 yr old boy reluctant to ride scooter/bike/etc. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 09-25-2010, 09:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm certainly not one for conforming or "fitting in", but there are a few things where my son (who will be 5 in a couple of weeks) is quite atypical that have me a little concerned. He is a very outgoing, happy, social boy who is very smart and loves books, doing art, and has a VERY active imagination. BUT, when it comes to many physical things, namely learning how to ride a scooter or even the thought of trying out a bike w/training wheels is not his thing. Now, my husband did go out and get him a scooter this past spring, and strangely enough ds will initially seem interested in taking it out, but after about a minute of barely trying to get going on it he gets frustrated (or maybe simply disinterested) and doesn't want to do it anymore. Both DH and I have tried to gently help him, encouraging him that he can do it, DH has even had him stand on it while he pushes it along. And sometimes he'll spend a few minutes kind of limping around on it, and I can tell he feels good about getting better at it, but it never goes any farther than that and then he's DONE. Basically, there's no way he'll be able to ride it if he doesn't spend more time than he is right now on it.

And even mentioning getting a bike w/training wheels hasn't gotten the response I had hoped for. He truly does not seem interested in trying that out at all! On one hand, I can respect this and it's not our parenting style to force stuff on our kids. But we happen to live in a neighborhood where most of the kids are either on scooters or bikes, and I'm wondering how this will affect him socially if he's the only kid in his age group who doesn't do these things. And I'm afraid that the older he gets, the more resistant he'll get to trying them. I know, because I myself was afraid to learn how to ride a bike and was the only kid who didn't (and deep down I hated that I couldn't do it, and would sometimes get teased about it).

In other ways, he's also not as daring or reckless as many boys I've observed. For instance, he just recently overcame a fear of going down a big ladder on the side of a jungle gym, and even still doesn't want to go down a big spiral slide. On the other hand, he loves to wrestle, runs really fast, and enjoys soccer class (although he doesn't have a competitive bone in his body, he does have a blast). So it isn't that he doesn't like being physical, per se, but just doesn't like anything that could be in the least bit "scary".

Has anyone else ever known of a boy this age not into this stuff? I don't want to give him any hangups about this, but I'm also wondering how I can best help him to overcome these fears. Any suggestions would be great appreciated.
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#2 of 9 Old 09-25-2010, 10:01 PM
 
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My son (5.5) is a lot like this. No interest in his scooter, or bikes. Loves running. Cautious with climbing up high--will climb to test himself, but it is not his favorite thing to do regularly. He's a wonderful, sensitive boy. He is into art, puzzles, and has a great ability to focus.

I noticed that recently he is more open to trying "scary" things, and is happy about it, but he does not like those activities. I think it is his personality.

I don't think that learning to ride a bike is easier at 5 than at 7 or 8. I'm sure he will learn when he is ready.

My kids are 8, 5 and 2!
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#3 of 9 Old 09-25-2010, 10:50 PM
 
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It sounds to me like the activities he doesn't enjoy are ones that involve his feet being off the ground. Makes me to think he may have an ear/balance issue or a slight sensory issue. I think this is called vestibular or proprioceptive? I'm sorry I can't explain it very well but my ds has struggled with something similar with activities where he tilts his head back, he gets really scared.
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#4 of 9 Old 09-25-2010, 11:48 PM
 
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My son was just like this. We just let him be, and when he felt confident enough to do it, he did it, but not for a few years. Not all kids develop physically at the same rate. If you are concerned, talk to his doctor.
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#5 of 9 Old 09-26-2010, 12:58 AM
 
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Our ds got a 2 wheeled scooter at 6 and learned to ride a 2 wheel bike at 7. (We never training wheels; from what I've seen they don't help.) Ds did have vestibular and proprioception perception issues (great difficulty balancing and telling where he was in space), and was in occupational therapy (OT) for 2 years from 5-7. So, at 5 he was riding a trike, and 6 he was riding a trike and a scooter and at 7 he finally mastered the bike. He's tall for his age, so he looked really funny riding a trike at 6. The neighborhood kids didn't seem to care.

But I've seen a fair number of kids without diagnosed issues take a while to master a bike. One of our neighbors learned at 4. Her twin learned at 8.

Would he do a balance bike? Those are great because the kids can easily put their feet down on the ground, but once they master them, riding a regular bike is a snap.

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#6 of 9 Old 09-26-2010, 12:22 PM
 
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My ds did love his first bike with training wheels. But he never got into the scooter and was cautious with heights. He didn't get into swings and slides until he was older than many kids. It could be a sensory thing or he could just be physically cautious. A balance bike seems like it might be a good idea. You just sit and scoot around, even just walking your feet while you sit. Did your ds every ride a trike? The big wheel things don't have the same stigma of being for little kids if you think your ds would like one of those. He might feel more comfortable being close to the ground.

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#7 of 9 Old 09-26-2010, 12:28 PM
 
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I was also thinking possible sensory/balance issue. You could have him evaluated by an occupational therapist for this...you would need to find one who evaluations for sensory integration issues. If he does have a problem in this area, there is occupational and physical therapy that can help him develop his sense of balance. You may be able to get your medical insurance to pay for some of the evaluation and therapy, depending on what services are included in your coverage. Our insurance covered our son's OT evaluation for fine motor skills, and would have covered some therapy if he needed it.

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#8 of 9 Old 09-26-2010, 09:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm glad to hear some of you talk about the sensory issues; this is something I've wondered about but wasn't sure if we should pursue getting a diagnosis. I'm assuming I'd probably need to go to his regular ped first and then get a referral (darn, and he just had his yearly physical!) Another thing I didn't mention is that he has had a recurring fear of walking down stairs that flairs up from time to time. We've thought about possible depth perception issues, but the sensory/balance thing is definitely a possibility as well.

It's also nice to hear that there are other kids out there who are on the same "track". Sometimes it's easy to get into an isolated feeling where it seems like your child is the only one dealing with this.

As for a trike, we got him one before he was two; it's a Kettler with a push-handle and he loved being pushed around on it. And he did start a little bit to learn how to pedal, but then winter came and doing that outdoors became pretty impractical. That, plus I was pregnant with ds2 and got really uncomfortable during the second half of the pregnancy and couldn't really drag both the trike and carry him out of our bldg. And sadly, once ds2 came along we kind of dropped the ball with regularly getting him on his trike or introducing any type of scooter. And now that same trike has sort of been passed down to ds2, as it's much more his size (I think ds1 would be too big, even if it was adjusted to its tallest setting).

I like the idea of a balance bike. One of our neighbor's sons has one, so maybe I'll see if he can borrow it and see what he thinks.

Thanks for all the input; it's been very helpful!
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#9 of 9 Old 09-27-2010, 01:43 AM
 
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I'm glad to hear some of you talk about the sensory issues; this is something I've wondered about but wasn't sure if we should pursue getting a diagnosis. I'm assuming I'd probably need to go to his regular ped first and then get a referral (darn, and he just had his yearly physical!) Another thing I didn't mention is that he has had a recurring fear of walking down stairs that flairs up from time to time. We've thought about possible depth perception issues, but the sensory/balance thing is definitely a possibility as well.


I went with out a referral. My ped, who I love for medical issues did not think this sensory issue was a problem. She did agree to write for it if my insurance required it but it wasn't required. So just keep in mind that your ped isn't an expert in this area. Also, while my ds has sensory issues he never received a dx. His problems are not that severe. He had about 6 months of therapy and it made a huge difference in our lives overall.
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