Who knew that learning how to ride a bike has nothing to do with the bike and everything to do with your body movement.
No matter how old you are, you can learn anything you want to especially when it comes to body movement and play.
Let’s break it down and understand the movement associated with your body and what you’re learning to do when it comes to learning how to ride a bike.
We borrowed my youngest bike to teach our other cousin to ride. She’s 12. Imagine the clown on the small bike and that’s the image of us trying to teach her on a 7 year old’s bike.
At first, all we wanted her to do is learn how to balance. We found an incline and first I showed her what to do. The bike will go down all you have to do is lift both legs and balance the bike. If you feel unsure you can land both your feet to the ground to stop.
She practiced balancing until she got the hang of it. Each time rolling down an incline.
Once she rolled down we introduced pedals showing by hand what the body movement would look like.
With my left and right arm and hands emulating what the left and right leg and foot body movement would be doing.
She did it albeit she was afraid when she went down a bigger incline of a hill. I acknowledged her fear and her triumph. Those moments are gold when you see a child and acknowledge what is going on for them but tell them it’s all part of the learning journey.
Next was climbing and getting down from a tree. We went to New Farm Park which is a very busy park because it celebrates the natural landscape. They built the playground around the existing tree structures and so of course that is it’s selling point.
The kids will say can we go there to climb trees not specifically for the playground. Although secretly I’m sure it’s for both.
I watched as each child climbed across the tree, their faces became concerned as they got to the end. No parents in sight. I just checked in hey you ok up there. If you need help getting down I’ll help you.
Do you want to come down here or here just let me know. If you come down here you climb down like a monkey with your hands and feet holding the pole. If you come down here you’ll swing your body so your tummy faces the tree and your back faces me and just kind of slide down with your arms and jump off.
I tried different instructions with each child kind of experimenting how best to say it. Each strangers child listened and I only needed to tell them once and they knew what and how to do it.
I remembered then that’s what I did with my kids when growing up. I never was the rescuer unless I absolutely had to be. I said playgrounds are for learning. You got to learn how to get up and how to get down. If I was to help them it would be through describing or words but not doing the doing for them.
Or I would show them. This is how I would get up. This I what you do with your arms and legs. Think about your hand going here etc. Vice versa for how I would get down.
Think back to when your baby was really a baby. Did you ever consider that the way babies learn is through mimicking you?
Yes, me neither! But a coach of mine got me thinking about it. Everything is a copycat of you. Those babies were curious and they watched you doing literally everything.
I remember when my babies were first born we would just stare at each other in bed. You didn’t need words, the moment was literally I love you both ways.
I was always very facially expressive with my babies. I also tried to introduce hand signals and body language to help them understand me - of course as they got older their attention span for me became shorter and shorter.
It’s because I became the mother I thought I had to become to whip them (metaphorically) into shape.
Fast forward to completing the first week back at school and through the week I found myself creating games and fun around getting ready on time.
To get my little one who is seven up. I commentated myself getting ready - describing in a funny way literally everything I was doing. She became curious and couldn’t help herself. She got up and came in thinking what is this woman doing?
When I saw her I said quick go get your uniform and I can do the same for you. Get ready quickly with commentating. So she returned and we did the same. The getting on of the tights or leggings was the most fun and she couldn’t help but giggle and same with me.
Hi my name is Angela. I have loved writing since I was able to hold a pencil in my hand. I soon learnt I had a gift of connecting with my ancestors through writing before my 30th birthday.