My daughter learned to ride a bike about a year ago. I haven't seen her since - anyone know where she is??? Not really, but she LOVES hopping on and riding to her freedom and I think it is wonderful. However, we have learned that with the privilege of riding a bike comes some responsibility on the part of the parent and the child.
1) Look at your child before they leave
My kids know they are to always wear their helmets. It is never an argument, it is not uncool to wear one. It just isn't anything. However sometimes (often/all the time/constantly) kids forget things. A few weeks ago my daughter was 1/2 way down the driveway when I saw that she didn't have on her helmet. I pointed that out, she put it on and was on her way. The oversight was a complete accident on her part. Not 10 minutes later she had a major wreck by running into a trash can. She was pretty scraped up and even cracked her helmet. Thank goodness I had caught a glimpse of her riding off without her helmet. Who knows how injured she could have been if she had not been wearing it.
Also check to ensure they are wearing proper shoes for riding and proper clothes - nothing super loose and flowy that could get caught up in the spokes.
2) Map out their routes
Hop on a bike and ride the routes with them. Riding it yourself is the only way you will know what kind of road/riding conditions they may encounter. Pick specific points they they are allowed to venture to.
3) Watch your time
A few days ago I told my daughter not to be gone long. What does that mean to a 9 year old? Apparently 2 hours. I was in such a panic by the time she got home (and after I drove the neighborhood for a 1/2 hour looking for her) that I cannot even tell you. She had been having fun at her friend's house and just didn't realize that much time had passed.
Now, before she leaves, she puts on a watch and I show her specifically when she is expected home. Bonus - she is getting much better at reading a watch!
4) Text me!
The scary situation a few days ago could have been avoided if the adult at the house where she was playing had texted me and let me know she was there. So simple. A quick text when she gets there and a quick text when she leaves.
Super easy things to do and now we can all just relax and enjoy the freedom she has gained from riding a bike. Happy Summer!
2 months ago