Yesterday we did something we’d been planning on for some time now, we went to the local bicycle shop and bought bikes for the whole family. Both Dave and Caitlin had small bikes when they were younger but neither of them ever rode much and they never really got the hang of doing without the training wheels and Tom has only ever had trikes and his scooter. Adam and I had been thinking that going for bike rides as a family would be a great way to get all of us active and this seemed like a good time to start. We were able to bring the kids’ bikes home yesterday but mine had to be ordered in so we’ll pick up it and Adam’s sometime after New Year.
While we were in the shop David was getting very angry with us because he REALLY didn’t want to have to learn to ride a bike – he was quite happy with his scooter thankyouverymuch – and when we got home, and Adam persuaded him to have a go, he spiraled straight into a full blown anxiety attack, tears and all. He didn’t feel safe and there was no way he was ever going to ride. So we went through the exercises we’d learned at the anxiety clinic and wrote down a plan for getting him on the bike – a baby steps or “stepladder” approach with rewards for each achievement starting with practicing on Tom’s slightly smaller, training wheel equipped bike and with the ultimate goal of having him ride his own bike unassisted to be rewarded with a new Nintendo DS game.
Meanwhile Caitlin took herself outside and in mere minutes was peddling around the cul-de-sac looking very pleased with herself indeed. David was feeling much calmer having had his fears taken seriously, and with the prospect of rewards for making progress with his riding coupled with the affront of having his younger sister upstaging him, out he went for another go. He managed a couple of brief wobbly pedals on his own bike and then decided that the cul-de-sac was too small to ride in.
This morning we loaded up the car and headed off to Bicentennial Park with my mum. Caitlin was off round the bike path like a shot, David was more hesitant but with Grandma accompanying him on her own bike he was able to make it around the circuit. And then he went again…and again…and again!
It’s so nice to see the work we did at the clinic pay off in such a satisfying way, in the past David’s fears would have resulted in a LOT more conflict and distress before arriving at the same result, this way was orders of magnitude better. It seems simply going through the process of planning the stepladder was enough, in the end we didn’t do any of the early steps, he chose himself to go straight for the main goal. If only all his issues were so easy to resolve.
He was so pleased with himself and announced that he likes bike riding even better than his scooter. And now I owe him a DS game.