Training Wheels Don’t Work

Drawing of training wheels

The daycare my daughter went to had bikes, but none with training wheels. Instead, they started the kids with balance bikes – basically regular bikes with no pedals. They’re powered Fred Flintstone style.

Ava could get going and balance on those bikes by her second birthday and at 2 years 5 months, she rode a real bike for the first time.

The problem with training wheels is that they take away the struggle of learning to balance. Kids will ride a bike with training wheels for years, gaining confidence and then be in for a rude awakening when the training wheels come off and they realize they don’t know how to ride a bike.

Parents using training wheels have good intentions, but the result of those training wheels isn’t growth, it’s reliance. Training wheels simply delay the inevitable struggle that must occur in learning to ride a bike. And the longer that struggle is delayed, the more emotionally difficult it becomes.

Learning to ride a bike wasn’t easy for Ava. There were falls along the way and those came with the requisite scrapes and bruises and crying that hurts a parent as much as their child.

It’s hard to watch our kids struggle and get hurt and be upset. But that’s where the growth comes from.

You can’t learn to ride a bike without falling. And you can’t learn to live life without experiencing some pain.

- Matt

PS. Here’s a video of Ava’s first time riding a real bike:

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