Parenting: Put your bike away!
“PUT YOUR BIKE AWAY!”
What a relief to have the snow melting and the kids wanting to get outside and ride their bikes and skateboards. This is also the perfect time to get some great habits in place…before you run over their bikes.
Whether a bike, board or bat – now is the time to establish the ground rules around outside toys. Here is how:
Know where they go
It is pretty hard to put anything away if there is no set place for that object. Before you start nagging your kids, create a place for the bike, skate board, bat or ball hockey net.
Establish an expectation and consequence you will actually apply
When you show us you can take responsibility for your (insert object name here), you are welcome to use it (ride it). When you show us that you can’t put it back, you are choosing to lose it for tomorrow; you can try again the next day. We know that you can get things back where they belong.
Clearly communicate it to your kids
Be sure that you have told your kids the expectation and consequence before you expect it. Don’t just take the bike away without clearly teaching where it should go. Show your child, and then have your child show you that she can do it and that she understands the consequence.
This is the tough part and it needs to happen – this is your job.
When the child “forgets” to put it back, you have your script ready, “You’ve chosen to lose access to the bike (bat, board) for tomorrow and you can try again the next day.” You might need to add, “I can see you are feeling pretty disappointed about that – it’s okay to be mad.”
NOTE: If your child is 3 and mad=tantrum, you teach your child how to deal with his anger. If your child is older than 3, and is still having a tantrum…we need to talk about how to change this behaviour.
Reap the rewards
When we hold our kids accountable with clear expectations and consequences, our kids learn that they are capable and it is one less bike to pry from the tires of our cars.