Wednesday, 21 March 2018
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September 2017

Parents’ Opinion: Missing Milestone Moments

A new trend has emerged recently with parents – paying for someone else to teach their child how to ride a bike!

Researchers questioned over one thousand local parents across Northern Ireland, who were all asked if they’d ever paid for bike lessons. Surprisingly, as many as four in every 10 revealed that they had, spending on average £108.33 per child. Half of those who have done so admitted that they swerved the responsibility because they don’t have the patience, or were concerned that their child would hurt themselves while trying to teach them.
Chris Reilly, Managing Director of MyVoucherCodes who commissioned the survey said: “Considering 91 per cent of parents described their own experience of learning to ride a bike as positive, it’s surprising to see the number, let alone expense, of parents outsourcing such a key childhood moment.” Ni4kids was keen to find out if our readers, and Facebook community, agreed that we parents might be in danger of losing touch with some of the traditional learning milestones which form a bond between a parent and their child. Or instead thought that this was a wonderful idea – leave it to the experts and free up more time for other pursuits.

Mum Jane Ash replied to our post on social media saying: “I can maybe see it working for parents who work 50 hours a week and are literally exhausted, or are maybe disabled, but let's be realistic. Not having the patience? Just be grateful you don't fall into the category of parents who ARE disabled and you actually have the opportunity to do these activities with your child. I love spending time with my kid and rarely ask for babysitters, let alone pay someone to teach him to cycle a bike! Fiona Heagney recognises that in certain circumstance there may be very valid reasons to pay someone else to teach your child to ride a bike, for example a child with additional needs may require extra support and guidance to balance, however she also believes: “Too many parents don't take the time to enjoy having fun with their own children. There are certain activities, like swimming or music, where parents may need a specialist to help their child achieve these skills – but not riding a bike. Most children will achieve this when given positive support and time from their parents.”

Dougie Leslie urged parents to make the time and get outside and enjoy it, reminding us that “Your kids are only young once!”
While Sharon James thinks the notion is very sad commenting: “Our children are only little for a short time. It is a parent’s duty to teach their children to ride a bike, how to handle money, how to cook or do chores around the home. It seems that quality time is very rare in some households. Kids won't remember all the things money bought, but they will remember how you spent time with them. Being a parent is an amazing privilege and one that should be cherished!” Kelly-Anne Donnachie states: “Yes! It's time-consuming. Yes! It’s back-breaking but that precious moment when they take off on their own is priceless. Next, we will be paying someone to help our child take their first steps!” And Bernie Murphy was also not a fan of the idea remarking: “Spend some time with your child and teach him or her yourselves!”

The last word in our debate goes to mum Aurelia Kelly who sent us this gorgeous photo. She wrote: ‘Teaching your child to ride a bike is one of those moments in time that both the child and the parent will always remember. The excitement for both the child and the parent when the stabilizers come off, the parent running beside the child and then the wonder of the child riding independently on two wheels for the very first time is priceless. It is one of those milestones in a child's life, like learning to walk, that a parent doesn't want to miss. You remember the exact age your child was, the place and the colour and make of the bike. I have attached a photo of my daughter Rebecca and her Daddy at 'the exact moment' Rebecca mastered riding on her new pink bike. If you look at both their faces they have an identical 'I did it!' smile on their faces.  Now what parent would want to miss that?’

Ni4kids View

We have to admit, we were surprised by the research results and a quick poll around Ni4kids HQ revealed that none of us had ever considered paying someone else to teach our child to ride a bike. As some of our respondents pointed out, for some families there could be a very good reason why this is a necessity, but in balance we have to agree with the majority of those who got in touch with us to comment. It’s a childhood milestone and we’d much rather be there when it happens.

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