Whose job is it to teach a child to ride a bike? Parents!
Parents dream of the day they’ll teach their kid to ride a bike. Riding a bike is a major childhood milestone and it’s your responsibility as a parent to make sure it happens. I remember zipping around our neighborhood on my banana seat bike with streamers. Before that, I have memories of wobbly training wheels, maybe a scraped knee or two when I tipped over, and anxious parents wondering if I’d EVER learn to ride. Eventually I did.
What’s involved in learning to ride a bike?
- Stand and move with some security using push or scoot toys
- Pedal with alternating feet – tricycles are the perfect learning tool and come in different styles. Some have pushbars so that you can push your child when/if he gets tired.
How do you go from riding a tricycle to riding a 2-wheeler?
Balance bikes make learning to ride a bicycle as natural as crawling, walking, and running. Balance bikes are small bikes for toddlers, without pedals or gears.
When our kids were young, balance bikes didn’t even exist. We taught our children how to ride the old-fashioned way – with training wheels. I always worried that they were going to tip over on the uneven sidewalk. Our son asked us to take them off, we did but then he’d struggle so we’d put them back on. Eventually, our son mastered the bike but my husband missed this precious moment as he put away the tools one last time! Balance bikes are bikes without pedals. Simple as that.
Children learn to balance and pedal naturally – just not at the same time! Riding a balance bike helps kids develop balance, reflexes, and coordination that will make the transition to a pedal bicycle easy. With a pedal-equipped bicycle fitted with training wheels, the rider learns to pedal first, balance last.
Most kids first walk the balance bike while standing over the saddle, then while sitting in the saddle. Eventually, the rider feels comfortable enough to run and “scoot” while riding the bicycle, then to lift both feet off the ground and cruise while balancing on the two wheels. I’ve heard some parents say that this can happen in just a few days! Don’t worry if it takes your toddler a little longer – every child is just where they need to be and will eventually get it.
When is your child ready for a balance bike?
It all depends on your child’s size and physical development. Generally, a child is ready as soon as he or she is walking and running confidently with good balance and coordination. This is usually between 2 and 3 years but every child is different.
What to look for in a balance bike
Balance bikes must be small enough so that the rider can walk the bicycle while sitting comfortably in the saddle, putting both feet flat on the ground with knees slightly flexed. We wrote up a comparison of features to consider in an earlier blog, Selecting A Balance Bike. The biggest factor is size and the balance bikes we carry–KaZam, Kettler and Kinderbike–vary in size from 12″ to 15″.
Happy Riding! Oh – don’t forget your helmet!!
What’s your experience teaching your child to ride a bike?