Saturday, October 25, 2014

Nick rollerblading

We bought Nick his first pair of "real" rollerblades. They are the BladerRunner brand that adjust several sizes so that I don't have to get a new pair next week when the kid's feet grow.

Fully padded!

Nick is a little intimidated by them, since they are big and heavy and roll really well (they have ABEC 3 bearings, which is fancier than what I have on my own skates). He was happy to roll along if I held his hand, but he was reluctant to let go and skate on his own, so I had to come up with creative ways to motivate him to practice.

I considered several obvious things first.
  1. Assuming he'll just be so happy with his new purchase that he'll practice on his own.
    That ended after the first splat on the pavement.
  2. Guilt tripping him to practice because "I got you this new toy and you should play with it".
    No I didn't even try that one, because, well, no.
  3. Telling him "if you practice, you'll be better at ice skating, and they will let you have a puck and stick". While he admitted that he wants a puck and stick, that was not enough to motivate more than one trip up and down the driveway.
  4. Jumping up and down, playing chase games, cheerleading and yelling "yay good job" for every single step.
    That worked better than everything else to far, but I was getting a harder workout than the kid, which admittedly was not the intended purpose of this acquisition.
As Denise Fenzi always says "it's not a motivator if they don't want it".  Now they in her case applies to dogs, but why should it be any different with my four year old.

Clearly my motivators were not good enough to convince him to keep trying in spite of landing on his butt every few minutes. So that lead me to my final solution: I got out a bunch of cones and baited them with M&M's. Voila: he's skating, he's happy, he doesn't mind that he ends up hitting the pavement every few minutes, doesn't whine for me to help him get up, and the occasional candy keeps his blood sugar up.

Once he gets better at the mechanics, can go faster without expending as much effort, and his confidence grows, he'll enjoy the process for its own sake (because the kid is a speed junkie), but for now, the dog training approach works wonders.

As a bonus, here's a video of Nick riding his big boy bike. 

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