This weekend our family had a bit of a learning experience that scared this mama enough to write a post so that other mamas don't have to deal with the same thing. We were walking to a park close to our house, but where we needed to cross a couple of busy streets to get there. My husband and I were both there, so I was able to push the stroller with our little girl and we said our son could ride his bike.
We had a great time at the park, and when it was time to head home our son pulled way ahead of us and rode out of our line of sight. We called his name several times, and he didn't turn around or stop. My husband raced over to where he was riding his bike and found him rolling on into the street completely oblivious to the danger or the consequences.
No thank you, mama. Talk about not thinking that one through.
If you have a child who is obsessed with riding his bike, but you're not sure if you're ready to handle him riding without someone sticking to his side, or not sure if he's ready to ride farther than the end of the driveway safely, then then this post is for you.
Hopefully, there are a few tips in here that will help a mama with a strong-willed, independent boy like mine who needs a little dose of reality, and will help him know if he's ready to ride his bike alone. All of these things we are working on with our little guy before we feel confident he is ready to ride his bike the next time we head farther than the end of our street:
If your little is constantly looking over his shoulder, swerving all over the place and not keeping his eyes ahead to watch where he's going, he's probably not ready. This is a safety thing in a lot of different ways, but mainly it's important for your little to know where he's going, what's in front of him, and what he needs to do with his bike in order to avoid certain things. The sidewalks are full of dog walkers, joggers, and bumps and holes, so keeping your eyes forward is a must before your child is ready!
Stop Means Stop
Apparently we didn't know how much my son didn't get this concept until we were in the thick of it this weekend. It's important for your children to know that whenever you're out riding bikes together, and they hear you say, "stop!" it means STOP. There shouldn't have to be any negotiating, no saying it more than once, and no screaming it at the top of your lungs so that they don't roll into oncoming traffic. If your little has a hard time understanding that when you tell him to stop, he needs to do it without question, then he may not be ready.
Look for Cars
Your little should be aware of where cars are on the road, and where he should be to stay safe. When you live in a nice safe neighborhood where people go a mostly slow, kid-safe speed, it can give any mama a heart attack when they head out onto a busy road and you're dealing with all kinds of cross walks and stop signs and pedestrian crossings. Make sure that your child is aware of where the cars are in relation to the sidewalks, and how crosswalks and pedestrian crossings work before you head out. He should know that when the sidewalk ends and he hits the crosswalk button, he needs to wait for the white little guy, and not cross without you. These are all things he should have down before you head out.