One of the biggest milestones for many young children is learning how to ride a bike on their own without the help of training wheels or other bicycle accessories. It’s also a very exciting accomplishment, as learning how to ride a bike will give your child a sense of independence, and above all, excitement. As a parent, it will also make you feel proud to have helped your child learn this new skill in their life.
It usually takes a little over a week for a child to gain the confidence and skills that they need to ride a bike on their own. Some children might learn how to ride a bike with very little to no assistance. With others, it might feel like a step-by-step process. There’s no set age for when you should start teaching your child how to ride a bike, although many kids start between the ages of 4 and 5. By that age many kids should have the balance, dexterity, leg strength, and understanding of basic instructions to ride a bike.
Remove The Training Wheels
This might seem like a daunting task for your child, but your first step should be to remove the training wheels on their bike. Training wheels are used to help kids grow accustomed to sitting on a bike and peddling with their legs, but it doesn’t give them balance. There’s also the possibility that you might have to upgrade your child’s bike to a bigger one. Look for one that has the right-sized set of wheels, which will most likely be about 14 to 16 inches. Your child’s feet should touch the ground with straight legs while he or she is sitting on their bike seat.
Also, remember that the more pressure you put on a child to learn to ride a bike, or if you show frustration, this could further delay the learning process.
Lower The Seat
By lowering the seat, this will allow your child to sit upright with their legs straight and their feet flat on the ground. Next, hold the bike seat or rest your hand on the back of your child’s neck to help steady them. Then, have them start peddling with your hand still on the bike’s seat. Run alongside them if you need to and only let go when the two of your feel ready.
If your child tumbles, encourage them to get back on the seat. If they are not emotionally ready, there’s no harm in waiting until he or she feels comfortable to try again.
Help Them Find Balance
Tell your child to start with one foot on the ground and the opposite foot on a pedal in the two o’clock position. This will give them some momentum when they are ready to push off on their own. Next, have them push down on the pedal and use their other foot to move forward. The faster your child pedals, the easier it will be for them to maintain their balance.
Also, keep in mind that there’s no shame in learning how to ride a bicycle at an older age. In fact, the older they are, the better chance of them learning how to ride a bike much faster. Also, if your child doesn’t get the hang of it, get someone else to step in as their teacher. Try not to turn it into an issue. When your child is ready, they will let you know. Pressuring them will only build frustration and stress.
Don’t Give Up!
Last but not least, don’t give up! There might be some scratches and cuts, a few disastrous falls, tears and more, but be your child’s cheerleader. If they fall down, help them get back up again. Also, make sure that they are comfortable, that they have the right bicycle for their age and size and that their helmet fits tightly and is not wobbly.
Remember, safety is always important. Accessories such as knee and elbow pads are also a good way to avoid additional scratches and boo boo’s.