6 Tips to Teach Your Kids Safe Cycling
Whether you think your kids know how to ride a bike or set an example, social and emotional skills are taught from day one. Can parents set that expectation at home or spend even more time coaching?
Every single parent can offer the following six simple tips to get our children doing things as safely and efficiently as possible.
1. Manage space
If a child doesn’t know how to change a lightbulb, it’s in his or her best interest to have a parent lead the way. This helps the child understand boundaries and why it’s important to comply with them. It’s important to make sure that everyone who’s involved is learning the same set of rules. Kids are incredibly sensitive to uncertainty, which makes them especially susceptible to accidents. Since big mistakes come at a high cost, it’s important that the agreement stays on track and the rules are clear.
Parents can start teaching that rule starting at 6 months old. Provide tools like smart stickers, clear directions, and numbered stops.
2. Optimize safety
Every set of parents will take different approaches to teaching safety, but a 3-year-old can learn safety over and over again by seeing parents travel the same routes in the same way over and over again. Parents can also teach how to identify common hazards that can kill by giving visuals to cut down on the pain of learning in the moment. Play with jumping or teething blocks and activities that can cut down on the scary parts of those hazards.
3. Go outside
A child only spends a little more than an hour outside each day. So why not use the time to engage? Research shows that spending the time outdoors may delay the onset of poor academic performance. It’s also important to talk about the outdoors with your children and show them different activities like how to paddle a boat, climb a rock face, build a tower, and more. Parents can also talk about the safety rules of a neighborhood or area they’re familiar with and create new outdoor rules for each new location.
4. Keep activity current
No family will agree to spend every hour together doing the same thing. There are many ways to create a schedule that keeps everyone happy and productive. At the beginning of the week, draw up a family calendar with each member’s favorite pastimes for the day, and then list them in order of importance. Then, check your calendar on each day of the week to see if there’s a conflict with a different activity. Once a week, create a routine and stick to it by repeating the same things. At the end of the week, to mentally prepare for the weekend, create a vision board, and then stick it up.
5. Keep the peace
Teaching your child to play nicely with others and respect other people’s space doesn’t have to be heavy or complicated. Showing your child how to resolve conflict appropriately is crucial. For example, if your son is acting up, talk to him first and listen to his side of the story before giving him any punishment. The key to addressing conflict in a way that is fair and respects the other person is to ask and listen. Children are quick to pick up on when you’re ignoring or being defensive. If you can show them that you value and respect them, they will feel secure enough to approach you the next time you have a problem. As a parent, you can also control how much direct confrontation you engage in or how quickly they get older when you’re given a teaching moment.
6. Have fun
One of the hardest things to do is to spend time together. Parents need to find a way to do this even though everything about our lives are so busy that it’s hard to stop and look at the people we care about. Kids love getting a chance to keep up with their activities in the house or in the neighborhood, and they love seeing the parents from time to time. These are opportunities to reinforce what’s going on in your family and to strengthen your bonds and experiences. Look for opportunities to play make-believe and make a variety of new friends.
Children will often do this by imagining things for the sake of having fun, like pretending to rob a bank. They can also learn about relationships by running around and helping others. Whether you teach kids to ride a bike or ride a bike during a play date, look at how it makes them feel to help.