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Learning how to ride a bicycle is one of the many rites of childhood. For kids, it represents freedom and hours of outdoor fun.
To parents, it’s an important milestone. Ask any parent, and they’ll tell you that seeing their children master pedal or balance bike riding is one of their proudest moments.
However, as with most things, there’s a side to cycling that’s not-so-fun: falling.
We know how agonising it can be to see your child fall off their bike. So, we decided to focus on one topic: what to do if your child falls off their bike.
Do you succumb after one incident and put the bike away? Or do you encourage your child to try again and again?
Keep reading to find out more.
If Your Child Falls off Their Bike, What Do You Do?
Even though it can be scary, falling is a vital part of the learning process. By stumbling and failing, your child will eventually figure out what they’re doing wrong and how to avoid it. Falling also teaches them to be stronger and more resilient.
Just remember to start small. Pick a place with a flat, smooth surface with as few distractions, like an empty parking lot. And make sure that they have a helmet and it fits correctly.
A parent’s initial reaction is panic, worry, and fear. It’s the first thing the child sees after their fall, which makes them panic.
So, for their sake, try to stay calm and use the wait-and-see approach. Most times, it looks much worse than it really is. If your child senses that you’re relaxed, they’ll try to do the same.
Give Them a Cuddle
One of the best ways to alleviate your child’s fear and pain is by giving them a warm, comforting cuddle. It’s a known fact that hugs make us feel good because they increase ‘happy’ hormones, like oxytocin, which increases positive emotions.
In addition, they help lower anxiety and reduce heart rate. So, it’s the perfect remedy after a fall!
Check for Injuries
Once your child calms down, move out of the way of traffic or other potentially dangerous situations. Then, check them over for injuries.
The most common ones are usually minor scrapes, bruises, and cuts. They will sting, and your child will cry, especially at the sight of their own blood.
This is the best time to show your child that you’re calm and have things under control. If you panic and over-dramatise the event, it could lead to your child becoming fearful of riding again.
It’s worth noting that serious injuries like broken bones and head injuries are far less common. Nevertheless, every parent should learn to deal with situations like this quickly and efficiently.
Check the Bike for Damage
After making sure that your child is safe, it’s time to check on the bike. Is anything broken, twisted, or bent out of shape?
No? Then, tell them it’s time to get back on that bike and try again.
Let Them Know How They Went Wrong
Talk with your child about why they fell. Remind them that it’s not because they’re inept at riding a bike. It’s simply that something happened that led to their fall.
The question now is: what happened and why?
If your child is still young, they probably won’t know what they did wrong. Yet, if you ask the right questions, they’ll learn to pay attention the next time they ride.
Encourage Them to Continue
Motivate your child to try again. Be encouraging without being too pushy.
This will send a message to your child that you respect their recovery process. Yet, you’re still choosing to be optimistic about their ability to get back on the bike.
Stop if They’re Clearly Not Enjoying It
Sometimes falling off a bike can be traumatic to a child and, in severe cases, can even lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. To avoid things getting that far, assess the situation. If your child isn’t enjoying it, pack up the bike and find another activity to do together.
Don’t Put the Bike Away
Instead of storing it away like a bad memory, keep the bike out in the open. This makes it part of your everyday lives instead of something to be feared.
Then, when the time is right, and your child is ready to ride again, they’ll let you know.
We hope our guide has shed some light on what to do if your child falls off their bike. The important thing is to provide them with a safe environment for practising.
Then, boost their self-esteem with support and encouragement, as well as faith in their abilities. Before you know it, they’ll be whizzing by injury-free!