Breaking a Child’s Training Wheels Habit – Tips. Teaching a child how to ride a bike without training wheels parenting tips. Spring is here and it’s bike riding season! It may be time to see if your child is ready to break the training wheels habit!
Back when Oakland County Moms dot com was Rochester Moms dot com and my kids were much younger, I solicited for some tips from local moms for some success stories they’ve had helping their child(ren) learn how to ride a bike without training wheels. Back then, my son in particular, really struggled with the concept and became really frustrated. Thanks to these tips from our readers, he quickly beat his training wheels vice and I remain grateful!
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The responses helped me understand that it’s not necessarily the teaching method of how to ride a bike; it has a lot more to do with the personality type of the child. I’m going to list some of the tips and responses and hopefully you can find a similar personality type from the responses and match them up for your best approach teach kids how to ride a bike and to kicking the training wheel habit. Below are the parenting responses I received back in the day that helped my son and I’m hoping they can continue to help someone else.
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BREAKING A CHILD’S TRAINING WHEELS HABIT TIPS FROM OAKLAND COUNTY MOMS READERS
- “My son was easy. I lucked out. He’s a pretty tough kid and he seemed really driven to shake the training wheels and I knew it wasn’t going to be that difficult for him. I set him up on a long stretch of sidewalk (wearing jeans, some pads and, of course, a helmet). A few quick runs of him skidding or lightly crashing into the soft grass on the side of the sidewalk and he figured it out on his own.” – Kelly L.
- “My son avoided taking his training wheels off like the plague. I talked to him about it and he seemed genuinely scared that he was going to seriously injure himself. He’s very shy. Those fears were real for him so I wasn’t going to try to belittle him or say ‘you’re acting scared for no reason’. Instead, I coaxed him into it gently. We padded him up and took him to a soft, gently sloping grass hill at a park. After a couple of soft falls, he started getting a little frustrated. Instead of forcing him into anything, my husband and I told him ‘great progress, we’ll try again tomorrow’. We repeated this until he was ready. He definitely needed positive encouragement.” – Rebecca C
- “We waited our daughter out. She did it all on her own after finally seeing the rest of her 6 and 7 year old friends were all off of their training wheels (I guess all peer pressure isn’t so bad). My daughter was already to a point by then where the training wheels were little more than decoration anyway. We just popped the training wheels off and told her it was time.” – Jennifer H
- “We tried everything and failed a lot with our son until we took a hardline approach to learning how to ride a bike. He’s a bit of a perfectionist and every time he didn’t succeed he would become more and more afraid of trying. Finally, after some intense drama, we basically said “today’s the day, we’ll work with you all day if we have to.” He was fine once he realized there was no going back and we were going to help him no matter how long it took. We had to over-explain that it was OK to fall and that it’s a tough thing to learn and takes a lot of practice. We took him to a large parking lot with a field at the end of it. Once he got going, he could ride his bike safely into the field part and dismount without getting hurt. After the umpteenth try, he steered away from the safe landing spot and rode the bike all over the parking lot. He was so proud of himself and we were so proud of him.” – Tanya S
- “My son is not exactly what you call ‘coordinated.’ I always dreaded the day where the training wheels came off the bike! Instead of just waiting, we took ‘baby steps’ at an early age to make things easier for his first attempts. We would practice by taking the wheels off and having him get on the bike while I held the handlebars and seat for him so he could get the feel for it. We would even do this in the basement during the winter. He wouldn’t ride at all. I’d hold the bike and he’d get used to the steering where his feet were supposed to be. When spring rolled around, he was excited to try out everything he learned in the basement during the ‘offseason.’ It wasn’t easy for him but he was so comfortable on a bike without training wheels by then that he did very well.” – Penny M
- Know your child’s personality type
- Proper safety equipment is mandatory to prevent injury. Don’t forget to wear long sleeves and rugged jeans to avoid scrapes
- The safer your child feels, the easier it is for them to try new things
- Find a spot where your child has safe spots to land while learning (grassy hills, skinny paths with no obstacles)
Do you have any tips we’ve missed about how to help a child break the training wheels habit?
My input, forget a bike with training wheels all together and invest in a balance bike. I used one for both my kids and when we moved up to a two wheeler, they took off riding in under a minute. The first day my oldest got his 2 wheeler, we went for a 2 mile ride. No issues. Now my youngest just started riding after only being on the balance bike since spring. Zero tears and frustration in the transition.
The key is the find a go balance bike that is not too heavy – there are a lot in various price ranges. But if it’s too heavy for the kid to hold up, then they won’t be able to balance well. I am so glad I opted for the balance bike over a traditional bike with training wheels and I tell everyone with young kids about them.