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Tweens: Get Them Biking

by Michele | August 25th, 2016 | Seasonal, Tweens

11-12-year-olds-riding-on-a-pathPerhaps the title of this article should be, “How to Get Them Biking?” Many kids enjoy biking when they are elementary aged. It gives them a small amount of independence whether it is riding up and down the driveway, to the end of the street and back, or all the way to a friend’s house. However, the middle school years arrive, and it seems that it isn’t as fun to ride bikes. What’s a parent to do?

The first and most difficult way is to do as you say. Do you live near work? Maybe you should bike to work to set an example. How do you spend your evenings, when the weather is nice? Consider taking an evening bike ride by yourself, with your spouse, or as a whole family. If you’re fortunate enough to live fairly near a fun destination, such as an ice cream stand, bike to it.

The next way is to encourage it whenever possible. Does your daughter want to go to her friend’s this afternoon? If it is somewhere nearby that she can safely bike to, suggest that. Let her know that you can’t drive her there for a couple hours, but she could head over right away if she bikes.

A third way to get your tween to bike is to find a fun bike path. Have your tween invite a friend or two, and take them and their bikes to the path for an afternoon of fun. (Don’t forget to bring a companion for yourself.) Pack some snacks to enjoy at the halfway point. Or if there is somewhere to purchase snacks halfway through the trip, bring some cash.

Of course, before you begin these fun journeys, be sure to review safety rules with your tween. Helmets are not optional; they must be worn. In fact, many states have laws requiring that children wear helmets when biking. Also, be sure to review other street rules, such as the proper side of the road to bike on. If you’ll be traveling on a bike path, brush up on etiquette. (For example, riders should stay to the right unless passing. When passing, be sure to announce your presence to bikers ahead of you.)

With a little encouragement and good planning, biking can become a fun hobby for your tween. At the least, it can become a trusted means of transportation for him. Perhaps that renewed taste of independence will inspire more time spent biking.

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