How to teach your kid to ride a bike in five easy steps

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So I’ve earned another parenting badge and it’s called all three of my kids can ride a two-wheeler now. If you’re a non-breeder that may not sound very impressive, but until you teach your pug how to ride a unicycle I’m going to claim that as an accomplishment.

Now I don’t know much about pugs and unicycles but I do know about kids and bikes. And I’ve learned a few things over the years.

You need to get the buy in

You would never go to a business retreat and force someone to walk barefoot across hot coals; it’s the same thing with a kid. The kid has to want to walk over the hot coals otherwise she’s just gonna cry and yell for band-aids.

If you think it’s time for your three-year-old to ditch the training wheels but she’s not onboard, you need to drop the wrench and take three large steps back.

Forcing her to learn before she’s ready is like trying to shove toothpaste back in the tube. It’s messy and it really doesn’t work.

Stock up on Ibuprofen

It’s for you, not your kid. You’re going to be holding the bike underneath the seat and trotting along next to her. If you’re taller than 49 inches your back is going to scream in agony after 20 minutes or so. Alternating between ice and heat is also helpful.

Choose your words wisely

When your kid falls and starts to cry, don’t say, “Shake it off!” They tend to get mad when you say that.

Sometimes bribery can fast track the process

I did tell one of my kids that she could help me search for a new bike once she learned how to ride a two-wheeler around the block without stopping.

A picture of a bike with a bell and pink and white streamers hanging from the handlebars really is worth a thousand words. Who knew?

It’s a good sign when your kid violently slams the bike to the ground

This seems to be the last stage before success. It happens when she’s able to get the bike rolling and pedal roughly three to four times. She has just enough time to lift her head and start to say, “Look! I’m doing it,” before she crashes.

Steam will shoot out of her ears and she will lift the bike up and violently push it back to the ground. She may or may not scream before she stomps away.

This is cause for celebration; she’s almost there! Victory will be hers because she is now on a mission to show the bike who’s boss.

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6 VIPs have spoken

  • Michelle says:

    My technique? Let the husband do it. It was equally as effective as my Let-the-nanny-potty-train-the-kids technique. I highly recommend them both
    Michelle recently posted..Spidey Party!My Profile

  • Elizabeth A says:

    You are such a great mom. I’m so proud of all four of you!

    My mom said she would teach me that weekend maybe. Aka, maybe by the end of summer. And that bitch Katie McIntyre had just learned. I couldn’t let her beat me. So I took a wrench, took off my training wheels and figured it out. Moma did bandage my scraped knees for me.

    How’s the book?

  • Tracy says:

    Michael spent a month of weekends holding onto the back of the 5-year-old’s seat… NO GO. Lucky for us, our elementary school has the World’s Awesomest PE Coach, and every spring, he holds a “two-wheeler camp” for the kindergarteners. His trick: use a bike wrench to remove the whole pedal assembly off the bikes, basically turning them into scoot bikes, and making them scoot up a gentle grade, turn, and glide back down. Once they’ve mastered the turn without help, they’ve “earned back” their pedals… and they’re riding!

    Mike was aghast… he’d spent a month chasing her around a park and failing, and this guy had taught TWENTY kids to ride two-wheelers in an HOUR.

  • Good job, Kelly!! My son didn’t learn how to ride a two-wheeler until he was 10 years old, and that’s because my father taught him. I didn’t have the patience for it!
    meleahrebeccah recently posted..30 Days Of Photography | Day 7: CraftsmanMy Profile

  • Great! We’ll be sending our 14yo daughter over to you in the summer, unless you think she’s too young to start.

    Cool news about the book! Woot!
    Square Peg Guy recently posted..Jack-o-Lanterns in the LabyrinthMy Profile

  • Jonathan Adams says:

    I totally learned how to ride a bike for the money. Parents paid ten bucks if I could ride the length of one block without training wheels. I learned before two of my older siblings, and shamed them into learning themselves.

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