Think of it from a different perspective. Try to make walking hand in hand with her last as long as possble. Soon enough she’ll get the idea on her own to solo. Make this part of it last as long as she can stand it.
I agree, just walk hand-in-hand. As she gets more comfortable make a game of having her only rest a few fingers on your arm for support. If she is a dare-devil she will just ride off. If she is not, it will give her the skills to balance on her own.
My daughter was 8 when she learned. She spent about a half hour a day on the back deck holding on to the railing slowly peddling back and forth. The first week she was leaning on that railing really heavily and her peddling was very slow and disjointed. By two weeks she was peddling much more fluidly and hardly holding on at all. By three weeks she was riding around the playground.
Three months later she was riding in the 4th of July parade. I hardly helped her at all. For her, just like for me 30+ years ago, it’s just about putting in the hours on the seat. It’s not like teaching math where you can explain it to someone. Learning to unicycle is all about rewiring the cerebellum. It takes time to coordinate the tilting of the head, the movements of the joints and the power in the muscles. It’s amazing that people can learn it so quickly.
6 years old is pretty young, but if your daughter has the focus and determination that my daughter does, she should be riding in a few weeks.
From the age of 10 or so downward, it gets progressively harder for kids to learn the unicycle because their brain/body is less developed the younger they are. This varies (a lot) from person to person but it definitely averages out to a longer learning time at those younger ages.
The most important element in learning to ride at that age, and possibly at any age, is motivation. If she’s willing to practice on her own, you know she’s motivated. If she’s just doing it to spend time with you, or to make you happy, she may not be working as hard.
So, though it might just be pretty early in the process and she hasn’t figured it out yet, she may also be telling you she’s at her limit. You could try waiting a while and seeing if she comes to you asking for help. Or, just concentrate on teaching her the “safety position” and returning to it when she gets off-kilter. In time she’ll develop the body awareness to control what’s happening.
I am definately not pushing her, we only practice until she wants to stop. But I was making it worse by holding her up from behind. Today I tried standing at her side and holding her hand closest to me and having her hold the other out to balance. She did way better and got some good pedals in with her keeping her own balance. She was super excited and we practiced a while before she was done…I think in time she will be riding. Her modivation is we are painting her red uni pink once she rides 30 ft on her own.
I think she will get by the end of the summer since she has been skiing 2 years.
I agree with John Foss about the difficulty of teaching young kids (although, I would place the line at under 8-9 years old, rather than under 10 years old).
I taught two of my boys (now ages 11 and 14) when they were each around 9. My third boy is a few months over 8 years old and he is just starting to go a couple of revs - although he has had access to smaller unicycles since he was 6. He didn’t have the motivation prior to this year - and perhaps also was lacking physically because of age. All three of my boys have been on skis from age 4-5.
As far as teaching, I highly recommend using a deck railing or even the back of the couch. Anything that the rider can easily use to glide along for support.
Once the kid can go a few revs, it is time to mark progress with a chalk line on the driveway. That provides some real motivation to keep exceeding the former best distance. On the driveway, I found a very slight downhill to be the easiest. Next easiest is flat. Slight uphill comes in third. Once the kid can scoot about, the slight to medium uphill is a great strength/skill builder.
Check out justonewheel.com,
under “our company” click on “our youngest rider” watch the vid(the youngest documented unicyclist in the world).
Anything is possible!! He’ll be rolling through Time Square in no time, no kidding
My 7 year old daughter is riding now. She started when she was 6. We have only dirt roads around here, so I’d take her to a parking lot and walk next to her while she wobbled along. She slowly got more balanced, but the big turning point for her was when I set up a curvy course for the older kids (chalk marks on the ground). She really wanted to do the curves, so I walked her around those too, and all of a sudden, she could ride. I guess thinking about “steering” instead of staying upright did it for her.
It also helped that her daddy was learning to ride at the same time and she LOVED getting further than him…
Sorry, I meant to post this tip in my earlier post.
Make sure she practices rocking back and forth on both sides of the pedal revolution(wheel). Each revolution of the wheel is broken into two parts.
1- your good foot in the pedal back position
2- your good foot in the pedal forward position
Ex. If she mounts with her right foot back, let her rock a half rotation till she has good control of the wheel. Then switch and put the left foot back and rock a half rotation till she has good control of that part of the wheel (no need to do this fast, slower is better). Her left foot in this case will be more difficult (it’s not her favorite foot). Identifying her favorite foot, the foot that would hit the step first when walking up stairs.
If you can get her rocking back and forth comfortably with the pedals in those two positions then she will have a much better opportunity at smooth rotations. Which in turn will give her more confidence to move on. Then it’s up to you to get her to commit to leaning forward.