Our neighbor was over the other day talking to my husband as he worked on our house. He made the comment that he was really impressed with the fact that our children wear their bike helmets every time they get on their bikes, even if it is just around the street in front of our house. He has never been able to get his girls to wear their helmets. My husband tried to encourage this father that wearing helmets was important but in the days since I heard of this conversation the girls continue to ride their bike and they continue to not wear their helmets.
Our kids don't wear their helmets because they are good kids, or because they understand the importance of protecting themselves from a head injury. They have been told that in order for them to ride their bikes they must always wear a bike helmet. Then every time they asked to ride their bikes they were asked if they had their helmets. If they were found on their bike without their helmets they were told that there would be consequences. Truthfully, we have only had to do that one time with our son. His bike was taken away for a week.
We recognized early on that we wanted our children to wear helmets and from the beginning we set about to develop a habit within them that they would wear them whenever they got on their bikes. This habit is now years old and while I still ask if they have their helmets (also out of habit) they always answer yes.