With kids it seems like you are constantly dealing with some kind of regression. Sleep is going fine and then suddenly they regress. They’re eating a wide variety of foods and then they regress to only a few favorites. Over the winter we experienced something that seemed like a bike-related regression with H.
As the weather got cooler and wetter and we weren’t able to take the bikes to the park as much anymore H stopped wanting to ride her pedal bike and started wanting to ride T’s balance bike more. At first we fought this and pushed for her to pedal. It seemed like a step back. We worried she was going to lose her interest in pedaling and that it would be a challenge to get her back on the pedal bike. Ultimately our desire to keep her happy about biking won out though, and we traded a folding tricyle to a friend for their larger balance bike so we’d have one for H to ride. Watching her on it, it became obvious that a balance bike really is more fun in our shared driveway area. So we stopped worrying much about it and just let her play on the balance bike whenever the weather was nice enough.
Now it’s spring and we’re starting to get more days of decent weather and it’s become obvious that we should never have been worried at all. A few weeks ago she became interested in her pedal bike again after we went to the Seattle Bike Show and she got to play around on a pedal bike there. She briefly needed a little help to get going but then it all came back and she was fine. Better than fine, actually. She is more confident on the bike and is testing out new skills. She’s more willing to tackle hills and handles the bike more confidently on the ground. All that time on the balance bike over the winter was still learning time for her, even if we didn’t appreciate it then.
Would she have learned more on a pedal bike over the winter? Maybe. Or maybe (as it seemed was the direction we were heading) she would have spent a lot less time riding and wouldn’t have gotten nearly as far. And maybe there were aspects of balance that it was just easier for her to keep working on without the complication of pedals. Regardless, she’s a more confident, stronger, and happier cyclist now, so making the balance bike available for the winter seems to have done her a lot of good and I definitely don’t regret doing so.
Her brother is now expressing interest in pedaling, even though he’s only 2.5. He doesn’t really understand the function of the pedals yet, so even though he’s a master of balance and I’m certain is physically capable of pedaling I think it’s going to be some time before it all clicks. I need to keep in mind the lessons we’ve learned so far from his sister. Push, gently, but allow him to set the pace and give him the space to learn things his way.