My daughter is only two and a half years old and like any proud father I try to encourage her to to share some of my interests, chief amongst these is motorcycling. Here are 6 ways I have been able to share my love of bikes with her.
1) Doing things as a family – your young one may be too young to ride on the back of the bike, but you can still go to bike events together as a whole family – buy matching shirts! If you haven’t been to any large events before, family time is a great excuse to start going.
2) Let your child help you in the workshop, it doesn’t matter if it’s helping you wash and dry the bike, or pass you tools (while you’re at it, show them the basics of using all the tools, even if they’re spinning a spanner on a bolt several sizes too small, make them feel what they’re doing is helping and encourage them – eventually they’ll learn practical lessons from this and become a true help in the garage).
3) Expose them to other scenarios where motorbikes are a theme, take them to the local dealer; ask your mechanic if you can show your child around their shop. Do some things as a family, but also make sure that some of the things you do involve spending quality time with just the two of you. Mum is busy? Go check out a new bike together!
4) Stress the need for safety equipment, let them sit and even start the bike, but only if they are wearing requisite safety gear. Riding is a high risk activity – we all take risks, but make sure your child is used to safety gear from a young age, no one wants to raise a squid.
5) Buy yourself them toys as a reward, sure, not every purchase needs to be a new model bike or car, but you know.. maybe every second purchase….
6) Don’t over-do it, I remember some instances in my childhood where my parents pushed activities onto me and I ended up disliking them as a result. If your child doesn’t seem interested in bikes, let them be, they will come around, or they won’t; at the very least they won’t resent your pastime and come to appreciate the love you have for them and for riding.
I am by no measure an amazing father, with two and a half years experience I am still on a very steep learning curve. What’s worked well for you? How do you share your pastime with your child?