How do you convince a 7 year old to learn to ride a bike? I think he would enjoy it after he learns.

Tammy - posted on 07/22/2009 ( 25 moms have responded )

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He is terrified and we have tried several times to teach him to ride. He freaks out and falls off the bike. I think he would really enjoy it once he learns. If we push him on the bike for a while, he loosens up. But it takes a while and we can't keep holding the seat for him forever. He is also adhd. I'm not sure if this is contributing or not to the issue.

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Laura - posted on 07/23/2009

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If possible, have everyone go for a bike ride and if he's not willing to learn he'll stay home with a baby sitter while everyone else has a great time on the family biking trip. Good Luck!

Jeannie - posted on 07/23/2009

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Don't push him.The world can be a scary place and our home should be a safe harbor.Not ever child is "Bent"the same way.He would probably excel at something else.In time when his friends are out riding,He may get interested.

Julie - posted on 07/22/2009

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I agree with the suggestion of practicing in the grass; that seemed to help my son a little bit. Also, put on long pants and long sleeves so scrapes aren't as bad if they fall. Another thing that really helped my son was having someone else besides my husband or me work with him...it was our friend's 13 year-old daughter; he listened to her and tried harder than when it was Mom or Dad helping him.

Victoria - posted on 07/22/2009

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My eldest was riding a bike before I knew he had even practiced. I am convinced that he got on the bike and just did it. However, my youngest son was eight before he sailed into view on a bike. Think about it, getting on a vehicle with two wheels, having to steer, peddle and balance is tricky. My youngest has the personality that first he will think in his brain about it for awhile, cautious, know that he can do it and then try it. If he succeeds he will continue, if not he will not try it again until he is sure that he can do it. Perhaps that is what is holding your child back. I am a firm believer that if a child is terrified, "making him/her do it" will not help. I think that is old school and to put yourself in their shoes, would you do something you are terrified to do? I don't think so, so just put those training wheels on and let them take their time to figure it out, you will have a more mentally and emotionally stable human being on your hands in the long run!

Shaina - posted on 07/22/2009

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Take them to a park with the bike and have him watch other kids riding. My children were 4 and 5 when they learned so fear wasnt really prevalent at that time. But, by letting him see other kids having fun it would probably make it more appealing to him.

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Arlene - posted on 07/23/2009

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When we trained all of our kids we had them start on a bike that was a bit smaller then needed to be so they could put there feet down to catch themself and when they found out they will not fall becouse they could catch them self with there own feet is was great it took no time

[deleted account]

funny this should come up today. my 6 yr old adhd son has training wheels on, but his sister let go while he was riding down a hill & he took a terrible fall. now he wants nothing to do with his new bike. his PT has been working with him a little bit & today they drew a "road" (a line) in chalk down our street. he changed colors every couple of yards & then my son needed to stay on the "road" as they rode. it seemed to work, he concentrated on the road, not his fear of falling & when they got to a flat, he rode a little more on his own. now i need to get out there & push!!!! good luck!

RACHENDA - posted on 07/23/2009

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My husband found this super neat technique on YouTube that helped him teach our son how to ride in an hour. Type in "Learning to Ride a Bike - Branden on the Balance Bike" under search and you will find it. I tries to post the link but it did not allow me to. Good luck!

Tonya - posted on 07/23/2009

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I would also be interested in any information you get on this!!! I have twin 7 year-olds who have autism and I am having a horrible time teaching them to ride!

[deleted account]

you have to expirament as to which way he learns best.

My oldest is 7 he finally got it after we read a magazine article about biking. He saw how cool it was and reading the toips from experts (including wear a helmet you will fall down) really helped. I think he needed to know falling was a part of the process, and hearing the info from an expert (as opposed to me, I don't ride) helped.

My daughter is too big for her training wheel bike but doesn't want to learn yet..not sure what her trick will be.

Rachel - posted on 07/23/2009

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Yeah Kathy, OT's in the house!!! I find that pushing the bike up the small slope is good heavy work for the child and using the gait belt or robe belt gives them the idea that they are supported. I often find that the child thinks I am helping a lot more than I am. I usually tell them after a couple times, "You know, I am just touching your back, I am not really holding you up."

Kathy - posted on 07/23/2009

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There are a lot of good ideas here. Ultimately the child has to want to do it. We should not "make" a child engage in an activity that they are not comfortable with. With the ADHD, if the child does some heavy work first, this will help organize the nervous system and reduce the tantrums. As an occupational therapist who has worked with ADHD kids, we always start with a 'heavy" task before we get to the activity we are going to focus on, like bike riding. There are many things you can do as "heavy" work; push a vaccumn, carry items in a box that weigh a few pounds (a bag of groceries, box of toys), jumping up and down, "crab walk", "wheelbarrow walk", and so on. Then intoduce the bike. keep the training wheels on until the child requests they come off. I would definetly bring the trainers up a few inches as the child becomes more and more comfortable and masters each step of bike riding, until the trainers are no longer needed. Taking one trainer off as the child builds confidence is a good idea. The trainer that is left on should be to the side the child seems to fall to the most. Riding in the grass is a great idea as well, it is also more difficlut in terms of resistance than on the street. Watching friends and siblings is also a great motivator, (although it can also make the child jealous and backfire) but ultimately, the child has to want to engage. Has your child told you why bike riding is such a terrifying event?

Hope all the ideas given by all the moms give you somewhere to start.

Rachel - posted on 07/23/2009

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I am an occupational therapist and have taught several kids how to ride a bike. First, find a little park with a small slope. Take the belt from your robe and tie it around his waist. So first, you start practicing riding down the slope with his legs out for balance and you holding the belt (that way you can give him more support or less as he needs it). Then having him practice riding down the slope with his feet on the pedals. When he gets good at that, have him keep going when the small slope evens out. After he is pretty good at all that, have him practice getting the bike started on level ground. Then work on braking. Good luck. No offense to Lorraine, but a stationary bike isn't going to help him work on the balance you need to ride a bike.

[deleted account]

Our kids learned on the grass- their decision, not ours. It may seem harder- but the safety factor of not falling on hard pavement made them feel more comfortable. One of my sons also had "wonky" training wheels (hand-me down bike!). They never touched the ground at the same time- so he was learning to balance without even knowing it. Slowly we would pull them away from the ground even farther and he never knew the difference. Good luck and don't worry- he won't be riding in training wheels in college- he will do it in his own good time.

Sharon - posted on 07/23/2009

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I have heard that removing the training wheels and the pedals and letting them scoot along sitting on the bike can help get their balance, then put the pedals back. There is no easy way. We got my son wrist, elbow and knee pads plus helmet to give hom the confidence. He got it on a day, he only fell off once he realised I had let go of the bike and was running along side. Keep up the good work your'll get there x

Karla - posted on 07/22/2009

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We have discovered that with our 4 year old that when we tell him he 'can't' do something (eat a certain food, do something on his own) he will want to do it and usually does. We do not do it in a negative way more of a conversation between dad and mom, 'do you think he can do xyz?' 'no don't think so' and next thing we know he wants to try it and 'has' to talk us into it. Hope this helps. Good luck. My son loves his bike (has training wheels still).

Clare - posted on 07/22/2009

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He needs to see his mates riding his bike then he will get jelouse and have a go,you know takng it in turns to do a circle of the area he's in with or without you holding on! Thats how my 7 year old (at the time) got on his new bike in the end, as he saw them having fun with it! I dont know if adhd affects playtime so much as they play up infront of parents mostly dont they!! I was watching from the window once id introduced the idea in a casual way to his mates then jumped for joy when he got on!

Tena - posted on 07/22/2009

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My son started with training wheels. We slowly in a matter of weeks lifted the training wheels to put the bike off balance, but it still stayed up. Once he was comfortable with that, we covered him in pads (knee, elbow, gloves...) and worked on the bike for a very short time with no training wheels. It took about 5 minutes before he wanted the pads off (kept the helmet no option), and 10 more before he was timidly riding on his own.

Betty - posted on 07/22/2009

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Keep the training wheels on untill he asks you to take them off. When I was about that age I wouldn't let anyone teach me. Instead I went outside on my own and taught myself. Swimming was the same for me. Maybe he's an independant learner and you just need to give him some space.

Misty - posted on 07/22/2009

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MY HUSBAND AND I JUST TAUGHT OUR 5 YEAR OLD AND SHE WAS SCARED, MY HUSBAND TOOK HER OUT WITH BOTH TRAININGWHEELS, THEN REMOVED ONE AND IN THE SAME DAY AFTER A FEW HOURS WE WERE ABLE TO REMOVE THE LAST TRAININGWHEEL...ITS ALL ABOUT FEELING SECURE, LEAVING ONE ON HELPS THEM TO GAIN THAT SECURITY. ITS WORTH A TRY...GOOD LUCK, I KNOW HOW HARD IT IS WHEN CHILDREN ARE SCARED, BECAUSE WITH IN THAT FEAR THEY BECOME STUBBORN(PROTECTING THEMSELVES) AND ITS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO NEGOTIATE...LOL HE WILL GET IT, JUST LET HIM TAKE HIS TIME TO GAIN CONFIDENCE AND SECURITY

Rykki - posted on 07/22/2009

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When we trained out 2 oldest to ride we used the grass. We took off the training wheels and practiced in the backyard. If they fell it was a cushioned landing.

Jennifer - posted on 07/22/2009

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We're having the same problem with my six year old. He's so scared of us letting go. We bought him a new bike, he was so excited, and now it just sits in the garage. I have resorted to putting one training wheel back on his tiny bike. He seems to be a little bit more confident and in charge. We'll see how this turns out, I'll let you know.

Samantha - posted on 07/22/2009

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I had the same problem my daughter is 7 1/2 and would not learn would make herself so upset and just give up and I didn't know what to do so I did the only thing that came to mind to help I got the help from our 11 year old neighbor and they were out there for 3 hours and she came home riding her bike by herself still fell a couple time but now its a month later and she looks like she has been riding for a couple years. hope it helps

Lorraine - posted on 07/22/2009

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well i don't really know, but they do have this video game that they sit on this bike or horse thing in the middle of the living room and the screen looks like their riding while they play games. if not this just stick him on a excercise bike.

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