My husband has a friend who shares his love for bike riding. They like to go on adventures together where they share life and a love for the outdoors. Often, my husband gets to soak up little pieces of wisdom from someone who is just a few steps ahead of him in things like marriage and parenting. When we purchased a bike trailer to carry our young children on family bike rides, he gave us one of the best pieces of parenting advice we’ve ever received:
“Just go around the block.”
Since we had never gone on a bike ride with our kids before, my husband’s friend encouraged him to start small. He said to just go around the block once to get them used to it. So instead of setting off across town on our first outing, we rode down the street to our neighborhood park. It took about 10 minutes and the kids were able to get out and play before we made the 10-minute ride back home. It was easy and the kids loved it. Our next outing was a little longer, and we continued to go farther each time.
Little did my husband’s friend know that a small piece of advice about bike rides with kids would turn into our parenting mantra.
Since that first bike ride, we’ve applied his advice to other things we’ve wanted to do with our kids. Before taking on new things that could seem daunting, like long road trips and having our kids sit with us in church, we remind ourselves to start small.
“Just around the block,” my husband and I will tell each other.
Before this summer, we had never done a lot of hiking with our kids. I’ve always liked hiking though, and we thought it was an activity our entire family could enjoy together. But before just taking on the La Luz with our three young children, we strapped the baby onto Dad’s back and walked around the dirt road at my parent’s house. And then we kept doing it. Every chance we got, we’d strap that baby in the hiking backpack and off we’d go to the farmer’s market or on a short walk by the river. We are quite the hiking family now! My daughter would probably call it one of her favorite activities. And just this past month, we conquered a rather steep hike up the Continental Divide in Colorado.
Starting anything new with kids can be intimidating. But taking small steps makes it more manageable for all involved. This is something I am trying to remind myself as I teach my oldest to read. I love reading and long to share this passion with her. Sometimes the goal seems unattainable. One step at a time though. I am sure we will be enjoying chapter books together in no time at all.
So, is there anything you want to do with your kids or as a family but don’t know how to go about it? Heed this advice: before you take on that mountain, just go around the block.
Originally published November 2016.