When we started teaching our older kid to bike, I started with the assumption she’d do it as I/we did – start with training wheels and take them off over time.
My wife did a bit of digging and shared that there was a new approach to teaching kids to bike that was making the rounds these days. This involved starting her out without pedals as a “balance bike.” My response to this new piece of information was something along the lines of – “But, that’s how I did it!”
As I had more conviction in my approach (she hadn’t tried it yet after all), we started with the training wheels approach for two weeks. We then decided it was time to give this new method a try. By the second day, it was apparent her attempt was beginning to work. She had our 3.5 year old pedaling without training wheels within a week.
This was a memorable experience for me. Being proven woefully wrong has that effect on many of us. As I shared that experience last year, I remembered an older post of mine hypothesizing that the training wheel approach to learning isn’t a good one.
Ha. I’d written about this idea. But, when it came to applying it, it took me two weeks to get over my bout of “But, that’s how I did it!”
The good news is that there was no debate with our second. Recently, he made the jump to pedaling at the ripe old age of 2.75 years. I didn’t think it to be possible. But, I’ve learnt a new trick and will be recommending the balance bike approach to any curious parent.
This experience has made me more conscious about how often I use variants of – “But, that’s how I did it” – as a parent.
Experience is a useful tool in any toolbox.
I just have to be careful to make sure it isn’t my only tool.