How to teach your child to ride a bike? Teaching your child to ride a bike in theory should be one the best things ever. We know that Hollywood makes it seem like you run along behind your child pretending you are holding them and then they are off, all smiles and so on.
But it’s actually far more difficult than many parents realize and can be quite the frustrating experience for both the child and the parent. Well today we are sharing with you a few easy to follow steps on how to teach your child to ride a bike and both have fun while doing so.
- Training Wheels
- Make Sure The Training Wheels & Seat Are Set Properly
- Get Out As Much As Possible
- Raising The Training Wheels
- Goodbye Training Wheels
- Be With Them
- All Kids Fall Of Bikes!
- Keep Practicing
- Do Not Get Frustrated & All Kids Are Different
- Ride Together
- Bike Safety!!!
- Safety Gear
- Cycling Classes – How To Teach Your Child To Ride A Bike
- Bike Responsibility
Start Them Young
First of all before you even get them a bike with training wheels. A trike when they are a toddler is the perfect place to start. You may be wondering how this is going to set them up for riding a bike. But we are talking about a trike with pedals. Some trikes have the kids pushing themselves along with their feet. You do not want that. You want one where they have to actually pedal to move the trike. This will get them used to the way that pedals work and they will be one step ahead when they get their first actual bike. As well as a bike some parents like to introduce a no pedal, two wheel balance bike to help them get used to balancing themselves.
Make Sure The Training Wheels & Seat Are Set Properly
Ok so once you get your child their first bike it will obviously have training wheels. Some parents make the mistake of not making sure that the training wheels are actually touching the ground properly. This can make the child a little unsteady and it can hurt their confidence if they feel like they may fall.
So first thing you want to do is make sure those training wheels are set properly! Then get your child to sit on the bike so you can make sure the seat is adjusted for their height. This is easier said than done as the moment they take that seat they will want to peddle. But be firm and make sure you have the seat at the right height before you let them set off.
Get Out As Much As Possible
Practice makes perfect and you want to make sure that you are taking your child out as much as possible on their bike. Even if you just go out on the drive way for ten minutes or take a ride to the park. Just let them get out there and get used to riding the bike. Different terrains like rough sidewalks, grass and so on will also help them become more comfortable.
It is one thing for your child to get to grips with peddling and starting to get an idea of how to balance on a bike. But you really want to make sure that they know how the brakes work! Most younger kids bikes will only have a back brake. But it is more and more common for even a toddler bike to have front and rear brakes. You want to get them used to using the back brake when they want to slow down and stop and only the front one in an emergency. This is one of those things that you will tell them time and time again, but it will take a few near trips over the handlebars for them to really pay attention.
Raising The Training Wheels
Ok so this one here is not a common one, but it is one that we know has worked for a few parents. Instead of taking the training wheels off right away bend them so they are raised a little bit. This will still give your child a bit of a safety net, but it will really make them have to concentrate on their balance.
We had one parent tell us that they bent the training wheels a good few inches, so much where it got to the point when they were practically useless! But just them being on there gave their child that extra bit of confidence in themselves. This is not for everyone, but some children are really scared to lose their training wheels and this is a way to kind of ween them off them.
Goodbye Training Wheels
Ok so here we are the main meat and potatoes of this guide. Getting your child to ride without training wheels! We have a few great tips here that will help you teach your child how to ride their bike without training wheels!
Be With Them
The not really holding them approach may work for some, but the majority of people will be applying a band aid to a scraped knee and be dealing with a look of betrayal on their child’s face. When they first start to ride without their training wheels they will need you to be their safety net. This is more of a comfort thing than an ability thing so make sure you stay with them. Some parents like to hold the back of the seat, some the handle bars and some the shoulders of the child. Find whatever works best for you, but please do not tell your child that you have hold of them if you do not as it can really knock their confidence if they fall.
All Kids Fall Of Bikes!
Kids fall of bikes, heck plenty of adults do as well. To be honest this is more a fear of the parents than the child, but if they do fall and get a little scrape. Do not freak out. Tend to them of course, but encourage them to get back on the bike as quickly as possible and let them know everyone falls of their bike, even adults so there is nothing to be embarrassed or scared about.
This was something that we mentioned when talking about riding with training wheels, but it applies even more for when the training wheels have been ditched. The only way your child will learn to be comfortable on a bike is through trial and error. So make sure you make as much effort as possible to take them out on their bike. Even if it is just out in the yard and they are doing circle after circle. Any time they spend on their bike will help them become a more confident rider.
Do Not Get Frustrated & All Kids Are Different
As frustrating as it can be for the parent trying to teach their child it is even more so for the child trying to learn. The last thing they need is mom or dad losing their cool. You need to just stay calm and focus on your child. Who cares if Jill’s daughter down the street could ride a bike when she was 3? It really doesn’t matter. Your child is their own little person and they will learn in their own time. Do not try and force it just because another parent has told you how easy it was for their kid.
Once they have got the hang of riding their bike and they are confident go for bike rides together or as a whole family. This can be a great way to have some fun as a family and it also will help keep their bike riding skills nice and sharp. Plus anything that gets them off the iPad and the Xbox these days is great!
As great as riding a bike is, we also want to talk a little bit about bike safety. Here we have a few tips and thoughts to make sure your child is safe on their bike.
A bike helmet is an absolute must when they are learning to ride their bike. Some parents like to go all out with elbow and knee pads, but these can actually affect your child’s ability to ride the bike so think before you go padding them up like they are about to train a police attack dog.
In all seriousness though, we cannot stress enough how important a bike helmet is. If they are a little resistant to wearing one then get one with a character they like. Spider-Man, Frozen, Paw Patrol, Disney Princesses and many more all have bike helmets.
Cycling Classes – How To Teach Your Child To Ride A Bike
Many schools these days offer a cycling class where they will teach your child all about bike safety. They will cover things like crossing the road, using brakes properly, being aware of your surroundings and other very useful information. Now you as the parent could tell your child all of this information. But it is far more likely to stick with them if it is coming from someone at school. If your child’s school does not have a cycling class then be sure to check online as there’s bound to be one in your local area.
Ok so this one is not to do with safety, but we feel it fits in. How many stories have you heard about a parent backing over their child’s bike because the child left it on the driveway? Or a child getting their bike stolen because they left it unattended somewhere?
This is not something you want to happen to your child’s bike so make sure they know that the wellbeing of their bike is their responsibility. This means not leaving it laying on the driveway or places where it can easily get stolen or damaged.
Make sure they know that they need to take care of their bike and if they do it will last them for a very long time. This is a habit you want to get them into when they first start out as by the time they are teenagers they will not listen!