It’s As Easy As Riding A Bike

Inside: Tips for teaching your kid to ride a bike.

You know that saying, “Don’t worry. It’s as easy as riding a bike!”

I wonder if whoever started saying it has ever tried teaching their kid how to ride a bike? I doubt it, because if they had they wouldn’t be saying how easy it is!

Maybe in the context of picking it back up after not riding for a while it’s easy. Your brain must store how to do it somewhere in your subconscious memories though.

Because actually teaching someone else to ride a bike is a whole different story. Until you try, you don’t realize how hard it is to put each step of the process into something a child can understand.

Maybe it’s because we’ve had 4 broken bones between 2 kids in less than 3 years. Or maybe it’s because I’m the worst bike riding instructor on the planet.

Nevertheless, we didn’t give up.

That’s probably only due to my husband and the fact that we have complete opposite parenting styles. I’m one of those moms that says, “Ok, you don’t have to.” I hate to see them squirm! Luckily my husband didn’t allow them to give up that easily.

We definitely both needed to be there though. I’m afraid he would try a little too hard to toughen them up if they crashed and started crying.

So this all started during quarantine when we were sheltering in place. Remember when everyone was talking about the random projects they were starting because we were all stuck at home?

While other people were busy baking bread and organizing their junk drawers, we were desperate to prove to each other that we weren’t going to let our kids sit around and play video games all day.

father teaching kid to ride a bike

So we made teaching our 6 and 8 year olds how to ride their bikes our project.

It took a little longer for my 6 year old, but that’s ok. He is only 6. He was way more easily persuaded to stick with it when treats were on the line.

I think he only picked it up as fast as he did because he wanted to catch up to his brother. It didn’t hurt that his brother quickly became the expert on bike riding once he figured it out and was constantly shouting tips at him.

If you have struggled with teaching your child to ride a bike, here are a few things we learned along the way that might help:



We started my 8 year old out with a bike that our neighbors gave us. After the first day we realized that it was way too big for him. He couldn’t put his feet down to stop and he didn’t know how to use the breaks yet. Once we went back to the smaller bike we already had for him that we thought was too small, he did much better.

You can find out what size bike is best on Schwinn’s website.


You can’t rush teaching your kid to ride a bike. They may not feel comfortable enough for you to let go of them for the first few days.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t try letting go at all in the beginning, but you don’t want to push them too far at first. You really want them to build up their confidence.

Some kids will take longer than others to learn. My son was 8 and I didn’t think he’d ever figure it out, but once we started practicing consistently, it only took a few weeks.


There are different ways you can do this. Our oldest son was turning his bike back and forth at first trying to balance himself. For some reason he thought that was what he was supposed to do.

I told him to imagine there was a tall pole going through his body and to try keeping it as straight as he could. I said, “Imagine the pole is going through your bike seat, up your back and through your helmet. You want it to go out of your helmet and then be able to reach the sky.”

This seemed to help a little, but once we went to our neighborhood school parking lot and started practicing on the center line of the road, it really helped him to have something visual to focus on. Remember, boys are visual learners!

With my youngest son, we took the pedals off his bike so he could learn to balance. My husband looked at me like I was crazy when I suggested this, but it actually worked like magic. He was able to use his bike like a balance bike and build up the confidence he needed to push the bike forward with his feet.

He rode like this for a few months actually. We kept asking him if he was ready to put the pedals back on, and he’d say no. But eventually he was ready. The first time we put the them on, he took off!

kid who is being taught how to ride a bike without pedals

The cool thing is, you don’t need to spend money on a balance bike. You can just use the bike that they’ll be riding once they learn!


This is definitely something we struggled with. We live on a really busy street with a steep driveway. So we had to pack everything up in the car and drive somewhere just so our kids could ride their bikes.

We made the mistake of letting months, sometimes years go by in between our practice sessions. If you can practice for a few days back to back, your child will figure it out much faster than ours did.

You could go practice after dinner instead of watching tv. Even if you go out to practice two days in a row, it makes a big difference. Then you can build on the progress you made the day before.


Again, your child needs to feel confident before they will be able to ride a bike on their own. The more positive reinforcement you give them, the more confident they will feel.

Make sure you’re pointing out every little step of progress they’re making. Tell your child how brave they’re being and that they’re doing a good job. Point out how hard it is, but that they’re figuring it out.

You may feel like you’re being ridiculously over the top at first, but you’ll be surprised how much it will help!


We practiced a lot at my mom’s house because the road we live on is super busy. Her street was perfect because it was a dead end with little traffic. We also practiced in our elementary school’s parking lot, because there weren’t a lot of obstacles to try to avoid.

Having a little bit of a hill, helps kids build up enough momentum to go once they start to balance. Too much of a hill can be dangerous until they know how to break though!


My 6-year-old was ready to stop after every few minutes. Part of that is just his personality. But it was also summertime and super hot. So we needed to take frequent breaks. For some reason he was always hungry during those breaks. I mean he is a growing boy. And if you’re a mom, you know that always having snacks on hand when you go out is essential.

We also went out for ice cream after practicing a few times. This helped a lot in the beginning when my youngest really didn’t want to try to learn. We’d tell him that if he just practice for 10 more minutes, then we would go get a treat afterwards.

Band-aids are essential, because unfortunately accidents are bound to happen. If you can, dress your child in long pants and long sleeves to help protect their knees and elbows.


This may seem obvious to some people, but it’s not something you want to forget! If you teach your kids when they’re learning to ride their bikes that helmets are a must, they will be more likely to use them when they’re old enough to go ride their bike on their own.


This goes along with being patient. Make sure you’re considering how learning to ride a bike might feel to your child. Even though it can be one of the most fun activities for them to do once they learn, it can also be really scary at first.

There are times when you go too fast and it can feel like you’re out of control. I feel that way even now when I ride down steep hills.

Imagine being a child who doesn’t know how to stop yet and thinking you have no control. Once you learn how to use your breaks, this can be one of the best parts about bike riding. But when you’re still learning, it’s hard to see it that way.

Modeling empathy as a parent helps your child learn how to be considerate of others feelings too. So that’s an added bonus!


The well known outdoor supply store REI suggests that having fun, is the most important step when teaching your kid to ride their bike. I couldn’t agree more.

If you and your child aren’t having fun, what’s the point? If you find yourself dreading those practice runs, maybe you need to take a break and come back to it in a few weeks when everyone is ready. I promise that once your child does figure it out, it will be so much fun for everyone!

What strategies have you used to teach your kid how to ride a bike? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

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pin for dad teaching daughter to ride a bike

6 Ways To Survive Meal Time With Picky Eaters

Inside: Meal time with kids who are picky eaters can be a challenge. Here are a few ways to make it easier for your family.

As much as I love to eat and try new foods, I don’t consider myself a good cook. I can follow a recipe, but if it has more than 5 steps I get easily overwhelmed. So when I spend the energy to make dinner for my family and they don’t like it I get more upset than I probably should.

My four year old has entered the picky eating phase. So most of the time we stick to the same 4 or 5 meals that I know everyone likes to eat- tacos, pita pizzas, spaghetti, or cheeseburgers and hotdogs. For someone who likes to try new foods, this can get very boring!

Luckily my seven-year-old went through a similar picky eating phase that he has mostly grown out of, so I know there is hope. I’ve started trying to branch out with our menus, but it feels like a never-ending battle sometimes.

boy who is a picky eater crying over a bowl of salad

Right before Thanksgiving my four-year-old made a pumpkin pie with his class at pre-k. He came home from school that day really excited about it. So I thought it would be nice to make one together for our family Thanksgiving dinner. It was a simple pumpkin pie recipe with graham cracker crust, pumpkin pie filling, instant vanilla pudding, and whipped cream.

I purchased all of the ingredients and set out to make the pie with my kids. After washing his hands, getting a band-aid for his “boo boo,” a potty break, and washing hands again, my four-year-old said to me, “Mommy I didn’t like the pie I made at school.”

Are you kidding me?

I could have let this derail me and given up on making the pie, but we made it anyway. My older son and I licked the bowl and it was quite good. I don’t even remember at this point if my four-year-old ate the pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, but the rest of us enjoyed it. The point is, don’t let your tiny dictators stop you from cooking or baking what you want.

6 TIPS To Make Meal Time With Picky Eaters Easier.

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Whenever I try a new recipe that I’m not sure whether or not anyone will like, I make sure to still offer at least one thing I know the rest of my family will eat. My kids will eat just about any fruit, so we always offer fruit with every meal. This way I feel like they aren’t going to starve if they don’t eat the main course.


I know it can be frustrating and easy to raise your voice when things don’t go as planned, but engaging in a battle of the wills with your kids often doesn’t do anything other than get everyone upset. Try to start out positive, hoping that everyone will at least try what you offer.

If they don’t, it will go much smoother if your response is, “That’s ok.” It’s important for children to develop a healthy relationship with food at a young age. But if all they remember about meal time as a child was fighting, that’s not going to help.


toddler who is a picky eater crying and refusing to eat

This may sound counterintuitive, but it worked for us. When my now seven-year-old was four, he would gag himself when we made him eat something he didn’t want to eat. One day, my mom said to him, “You won’t eat that!” and it had the opposite effect. He ate it!

So for several weeks we dared him not to eat his meat and it got him to try it. He realized that he loved ground beef and now his favorite food in the world is cheeseburgers. I promise there is hope for those of you out there struggling with picky eaters!


My kids are not only competitive, but they love positive reinforcement. This can work in our favor or against us. The way we use it at mealtime is by offering a small dessert if they eat a “good” dinner. A “good” dinner to me doesn’t necessarily mean cleaning your plate, but at least trying a few bites of vegetables and every food offered.

You can also use a sticker chart and give your child a sticker for each day meal time goes well. Then when they have a certain number of stickers they can earn a reward. The reward could be something like an extra book at bedtime, a small toy, or letting them choose a family outing that weekend.

This magnetic chart is a great tool that you can use to track your child’s cooperation at meals.

It has different categories like Healthy Eating and magnets that say “I ate my veggies” and “I ate a healthy dinner.”


Kids love to play games! You can help them develop healthy eating habits and have fun at meals with games like these:


You can also get a fun plate like this one:

Who knows. Going against the rules and letting your picky eater play with their food, may be just what they need to get them to try something they don’t like. even says it’s ok. 

The first time my youngest actually ate vegetables was when he did a taste test at school. They tried different things like carrots, peppers, lemons, and other foods with distinct tastes. Then they talked about how they tasted and drew pictures of them.  


Too often in the beginning as a mom, I would google things like the best way to get your child to sleep and come up with so many conflicting answers that it stressed me out even more. If it works for your family to cook separate meals for your kids, do it. If you’re a believer in sending your kids to bed hungry if they don’t eat what you cook, then so be it! 

I have two very strong-willed boys, one who will sit at the table for an hour chewing the same bite just so he doesn’t have to swallow it. So forcing my kids to eat something doesn’t work for me.

Most importantly, don’t give up. If you are in the midst of the challenging phase where you dread dinnertime because you’re afraid it’s going to be a struggle, just remember this too shall pass!

Share in the comments what has helped make mealtime with the picky eaters in your family more manageable.

Dad trying to feed a toddler who is being a picky eater and refusing to eat

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