TRAINING WHEELS THAT WORK!

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The E-Z Trainer and Universal Trainer. Safety with Teaching Tips by means of our Booklet and partnership in teaching DVD's.

Teaching Tips

Teaching your child to ride a motorcycle can be very trying for many parents. The intention and desire is genuine but lack of patience and teaching experience is unpracticed.

Wheels-4-Tots has been teaching kids to ride for years. Through the assistance of our dealerships we have developed on-site riding opportunities for kids. With opportunities such as these, many kids have had the chance to ride a bike for the first time. Riders usually range in age and ability, sometimes training wheels are needed, and sometimes they are not. We not only teach the kids how to ride but also teach the local dealership personnel (and parents) how to continue early-riding education in their area.

Some of the most common teaching tips center around you as the instructor. Remember, the young rider will “play” off of your emotions. If your actions suggest fear or tension as the instructor, you can expect the same back from your pupil. Be calm and talk slowly. Do not expect immediate results. Some children take-off right away and others need a little more practice to increase confidence, as they become a fluent rider.

One of the biggest concerns you should have as you teach your child to ride is how you explain information to him or her. Kids do not process information the way adults do. Make sure you talk and explain things in a way your child understands. Try not to use multiple commands at one time. Pick one thing to work on and let the child master it completely before moving on to bigger and better things. Know how your rider learns specifically. Are they a visual, auditory, or spatial learner? Single commands with gestures and movements seem to help the youngest riders understand quickly while elevating their confidence in showing you what they can do.

Another key factor in the education process is positive reinforcement. Supportive, positive smiles and comments will only help the teaching process to flourish. Never be disappointed in your child’s ability to ride as we have seen it change drastically in literally hours. Try not to raise your voice as you help the rider get started. Speak in calm comfortable tones because that is what they get used to hearing. If you do need to raise your voice or get the rider’s attention at a later time, they will respond much sooner if your “teaching tone” and “attention tone” differ dramatically. Parents naturally expect the most from their children and equally so, children want to please mom and dad. The best parents as instructors and most successful young riders have accomplished realistic expectations together. Give them some time…you’ll both be proud of each other!

One example of Wheels-4-Tots, and its training wheels, in a successful first-time riding experience.

First of all, we have the rider sit on the bike with all of their safety gear on (helmet, gloves, riding-pants, etc...). We do not start the bike right away but rather get down on our knees in front of the rider and establish firm, reassuring eye contact. By talking slowly and calmly about what we are about to do, we give them very basic knowledge. Remember, it is easy to advance with small steps and virtually impossible to fail. Expectations are solid and well defined leaving room for advancement at every moment. We do not tell the rider that they are going to be riding all over the place in a matter of minutes; they aren’t ready for that yet. Let them focus on a “step”, not the end result. After the brakes and gas have been explained to the rider, we have them practice with the bike off. Basics are made into a fun quiz as we ask them to show us the brakes and then the gas, mixing the two commands up randomly while speeding up their reaction times. This is a fun activity for the rider but more importantly starts to establish a habit in their mind. Before the motorcycle is started, young children know where the controls are located and how they work.

After confidence is demonstrated in the previous non-threatening environment, we start the bike and have them practice the same procedures from above. Kids are allowed to give the bike a little gas (just enough to rev the engine) and then show us the brakes making sure that the rider still understands our verbal commands. Next, riders are asked to demonstrate the gas and then brake to the instructor as they travel to them (about 5-10 feet). They must start and stop several times before arriving at their instructor. We play a “cat and mouse game” for a few minutes to build confidence and establish a future habit. As the game proceeds, the distance the rider travels is increasing with every correct response. By the time we are done, most riders have a good foundation of what we want them to do. If not, we keep doing the same drill over and over until the riders' confidence and ability increases. BE PATIENT, we guarantee the child is already thrilled with their performance, take a minute to share that feeling with them.

As the young rider increases in ability, we start putting obstacles around for them to develop steering and cornering techniques. Another person is excellent to use at this point because the young learner will have another person to help if needed. We usually have two people standing about 25-40 feet apart from each other. The rider is instructed to ride to the other person, stop, turn around, and come back to the first person. The other instructor in this case will also use the same commands to help remind the rider of what they are expected to do. After both right and left-handed turns have been mastered, kids proceed around instructors without stopping each time. This is a great drill for riders whether they are using training wheels or not.

You may want to supplement skills by using a figure "8" pattern as well as other longer, curvy pattern tracks. Make it interesting and let kids develop different skills with a variety of tracks. Make learning to ride fun, age-appropriate, and non-threatening. If you do, you will never lose their attention!

**As always, different kids require different ideas. For other teaching tips, contact us and we would be happy to provide you with assistance. Likewise, if you have something to share with others, let us know and we will be happy to pass the information on.

P.O. Box 221 DeMotte, Indiana 46310
Phone: (219) 987-6812 Fax: (219) 987-6824 E-mail: sales@wheels4tots.com
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