Once upon a time, children loved nothing more than spending the day outside. Whether it was riding a bike, playing tag, or using their imagination to come up fun outdoor activities, being outside was a joy not a chore. But in a tech-driven society, how can we get encourage our children to get outside and go on bike rides when they are tethered to their devices most of the time?
4 parenting tips to make going on a bike ride more fun than sitting at home.
1. Encourage, but do not force.
Begin encouraging bike rides at an early age. When you feel it’s the right time, ask your child if he would like to learn to ride a bike. If the answer is ‘yes’, get him a bike with training wheels. Tell him know beforehand that he could fall off the bike, but let him know that it’s a normal part of learning. Share a story of a time when you fell off of your bike may be helpful in preparing him for what could happen. If he does fall, do not force him to get back on right away. You want the experience to be a positive one, not a forced one. Ask him if he’s ready to try again, and take it from there. Whether your child is 3 or 15, the best thing you can do is not force him into anything he does not want to do.
2. Make it a family thing.
Engaging in any physical activity is better than none at all. Whether you decide to go on a walk, run, swim, or go on a bike ride, make it a fun experience for the entire family. If it’s warm outside, you can take a ride to a nearby ice cream shop. You can also try riding to a nearby park or throughout your neighborhood. Just be sure to make it a fun bonding experience for you and your family!
3. Use it to calm down.
If your child is having a rough day, suggest the two of you go on a bike ride. If you begin showing him how to use bike riding as a way to calm down, he may decide to go on a bike ride more often. Chances are, if your child finds something to be useful, he’ll stick to it.
4. Create distance challenges.
With all the wearable devices available today, it's easy to track where we've been. By seeing the distance they've put on their wheels and the crazy patterns their trail makes across a map you can inspire them to go the distance–so to speak. Set challenges for each individual and your family cumulatively to encourage more time outdoors and on two-wheels. You can even use a mobile reward chart app to keep score.