One of the most useful skills you can teach your child is how to ride a bike. The ability to cycle gives children a sense of freedom and independence and is something that they can use throughout their lives. But teaching a child to cycle is not without its challenges, particularly when you use the older method of training wheels attached to a bike.
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While this is certainly a tried and true method when it comes to teaching kids to cycle, balance bikes are making it even easier for them to transition to two wheels.
Ditch the Pedals
The best way to get started, according to the experts at Woom, is to ditch the pedals. So if you are teaching a very young child to cycle, you might want to consider a balance bike. If your child is older, consider taking the pedals off a light bike for kids so that he can learn how to balance first.
Most experts agree that it is much easier for a child to learn how to cycle independently if they learn how to balance and steer before pedaling is thrown into the mix.
What to Consider When Choosing a Bike
It is important that the bike your child learns to cycle on is the right one. So, whether it is a balance bike or a two-wheel bike with the pedals off, it should be the right height for your child (who should be able to place two feet flat on the ground while sitting on the saddle).
A lightweight bike is ideal for teaching children to cycle. A heavier bike can make it difficult to turn and can make it more difficult for the child to learn to balance.
Choose the Right Spot to Practice
Your child will need room to move about on his own when learning how to cycle, so it is important to find a place that is free from traffic and has a smooth surface. A park with short grass or even a cycle park with asphalt is a good idea. If you are in a park, teach your child to be aware of hazards such as balls, pedestrians, and dogs. He might also find it easier to learn to cycle on a surface with a slight downward slope. Remind your child that looking up when learning how to balance makes it easier. Kids who look down at the wheel or their feet will struggle to balance on the bike.
The Four Steps
To learn how to balance on a bike, children need to learn the following four steps:
- walking the bike
- sitting and walking
When the child has mastered all these steps without pedals, it is time to put the pedals back on. If he has learned on a balance bike, you can buy a lightweight bike for kids without ever needing to attach any training wheels. If your child has already been learning on a pedal bike with the pedals off, you can simply reattach them. When they have already mastered balance, pedaling is so much easier to learn.
The best way to teach a child to learn to cycle is on a bike without pedals. This can be by way of a balance bike or a traditional bike with the pedals removed. Whatever bike your child learns to cycle on, he should be able to sit on the saddle with his feet flat on the ground. When buying a bike for your child, choose one that is lightweight and easier to control. Make sure you choose a safe place for practicing.