Learning to ride a bike is one of the toughest skills a child will master.
Balancing, peddling, turning and stopping. That’s a lot of coordination of moving parts and it’s what is required for children to learn how to ride a bike successfully. With a little patience and a lot of practice, most children learn to ride successfully around the age of 4 or 5.
There are many ways parents teach their children to ride a bike. These include:
Starting with a tricycle. Tricycles allow children to become comfortable with the concept of riding a bike without having to worry about the balance. Tricycles allow children to focus on peddling and steering, without having to worry about balance or breaking. They are short to the ground, so the fall factor is minimal. Less falls tends to equal more confidence.
Using a balance bike. Balance bikes are bikes without peddles and other related parts. A balance bike allows children to focus on balance and steering. A child first gets comfortable walking the bike around while straddling it, then moving it around by foot when sitting on the seat, and finally when he is comfortable enough, coasting short distances while sitting on the seat and lifting his feet, ala Fred Flinstone.
Opting for training wheels. For years parents have been using training wheels to teach their children how to successfully ride a bike. Training wheels help a child keep balance and help to keep the bike upright. When riding with training wheels, children are focused on peddling, steering and stopping. Once they have mastered those skills, the training wheels can be removed and the child can focus on learning to balance without the added support of the third and fourth wheels.
Going straight the bike. Perhaps the most popular or at least most classic way to teach a child to ride a bike is to put the child on the bike and to run beside him as he peddles. Doing so helps a child keep his balance as he learns to ride. Once the child is peddling, the parent lets go and the child continues to ride until he stops or falls. This method definitely requires the most bandages, but it is a time-tested stradegy.
Using a trailer bike. Many children enjoy learning to ride on a trailer bike, also called a tandem bike, because of the instant gratification that comes along with it. The trailer bike is attached to the parent’s bike and the child gets to peddle while the parent remains in control of the ride. For children who are becoming frustrated, this can be confidence building tool and an encouragement to try riding solo again.
Whatever method you use to teach your child to ride a bike, it’s essential that he have a proper fitting bike and helmet and that he is taught basic bike riding safety.
Have you taught your child how to ride a bike? What method did you use? Share your comments below.