Mastering the 2-Wheeler


{Giro Helmet $24.99, Balance Buddy $12.95, Kazam Balance Bike $99.00, Kick Stand $6.96}

When I wrote about Emma mastering the 2-wheeler here I was remiss in not sharing the dirty details of how we made it happen. A few people have asked me since then about what we bought as we were learning. First I must warn that it is not an easy process – expect some skinned knees and tears for sure along the way. We found that a few things made the process infinitely easier once we added them to the mix. And yes PATIENCE is first and foremost the most important ingredient.

1) We insisted that Emma wear a helmet even when she was just a small toddler practicing on her tricycle. If they get used to a helmet from the start it is a habit that sticks. To this day Emma will not ever get on a bike or scooter at a friend’s house without borrowing a helmet. It’s a solid rule in our household – one that she won’t break. I have heard too many scary stories about head injuries for children and adults. Get your kid a helmet and be inflexible about riding without one. That means you too parents!

2) We’d heard people rave about balance bikes before but I honestly couldn’t stomach adding another “vehicle” to our already over-crowded garage. Then a friend told me her daughter had hopped on a two wheeler and mastered it on the first try after using a balance bike for the year before. I finally acquiesced, not buying one but borrowing hers. Low and behold after wobbling along on the Kazam balance bike for 2 weeks we put Em back on her 2-wheeler that she had been petrified of for months and she was off and running. The balance bike allows them to feel secure as they have their feet on the ground most of the time without pedals or training wheels to make things more complicated. Emma was able to glide along the ground when she felt ready, not when we thought she was ready and shoved her off on the 2-wheeler. We gave her back the control. I think kids are more likely to pick up their feet and try gliding if they know they can easily put them back on the ground and hold themselves up when they feel unstable. The balance bike gave Emma the confidence to know she could do it on her own.

3) And then this Balance Buddy handle. Oh this handle! Once you are ready for the 2-wheeler there will inevitably be a few days or weeks of your little one needing you to hold onto the back of their bike while they get acclimated. If you have ever tried walking or jogging for an extended period of time while you are bent over the back of a small bike then you know why this handle is so genius. No more achy-breaky back for moms and dads. Yahoo! It’s also a big confidence booster for little ones to know you have a handle on them when they need help steering or stopping in the beginning. We also used it to push Emma off once she knew how to ride but couldn’t “get started” on her own.

4) And then – the incentive! We had bought Em a 2-wheeler last Christmas but she never had a kick stand on it because of the training wheels. She saw her friend’s kick stand at the park this spring and was mesmerized. We promised her that once she could ride up and down our street without help we’d buy her one. It was thrilling and precious to see her huge smile when it was finally on her bike. (One note – most kick-stand are standard size and need to be trimmed down for kids. Most bike shops will do it for free or for a small fee.)


My Young Biker

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