The Next Chapter: From Bikes to Scooters

September 22, 2011

It's happened! Your child has achieved an important lifetime milestone: she has finally learned how to ride a bike. Now that your child is officially mobile, your work is done, right? All that you have left to do is frantically worry about them, right? Wrong. Because before long, the bike-thing has lost its novelty and—didn't you know?—all the cool kids ride two-wheel scooters. Uh-oh. Now what? Is your child ready for a scooter? It's back to the parent-training drawing board for you. Here are a few suggestions to consider while teaching your bike rider how to be a safe scooter rider.

Get geared up. Your child should already have a helmet from bike riding. You may also want to purchase some inexpensive elbow and knee pads, however. At the very least, dress your child in long sleeves and jeans to protect their skin from falls.

The basics are there. Good news. If your child can ride a bike, he can use the same balance techniques while riding a scooter. That said, scooters do operate differently and can "wipe out" in very unexpected ways, especially if the back wheel can turn 360 degrees. Avoid these models for beginners when possible.

Find the dominant leg. It is recommended that the strongest or dominant leg is placed on the scooter and the other is used for pushing off or breaking. Take some time to see what feels comfortable and which leg gives the rider the most control.

Set up an obstacle course. Once your child is used to kicking off and stopping without any fear of falling, set up a simple obstacle course on a smooth, concrete surface far from cars or bikers zooming by. Let them navigate the course as slowly as they need to. Once they have mastered that course, make it a little more complex. This could take quite a few days of practice but, before you know, your kid has become both a bike rider AND a scooter rider.

Set parameters. As with bike riding, be sure to determine safety parameters. Unlike bikes, scooters don't function well on dirt, grass, mud or sand, so explain that they must stay on concrete. Ride your bike alongside your child and set an example as a safe rider.

Now that your child is mobile in two different ways, it's time to get back to that hand-wringing! And whole-heartedly prepare yourself for a possible future of skate-boarding, inline skating and... wait for it... even driving a car someday.

From the Parents

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