Cycling is fun and is even a great exercise.
But taking off the training wheels is an important milestone for both kids and parents.
There is no right time to teach your child to ride a bike, but there are things that can help along the way.
And that’s what you will discover on this page.
For many children, learning to ride a bike without training wheels is a major achievement milestone. While it seemed easy to us who already know how to ride, it’s definitely not easy for the child.
They’ve to overcome many hurdles, both physically and mentally, to be able to balance and ride their bikes confidently. So, it doesn’t surprise that many children will face difficulties during the learning process.
As a parent, our role is to give them plenty of guidance and encouragement, and not rush things.
Here are 6 tips on how to teach your child to ride a bike.
1. Prepare Them, Physically and Mentally
Sitting a child on a bike and giving it a go isn’t a bad idea. Most of us have learned to ride a bike this way.
But it isn’t the best idea either.
As I said earlier, there is no perfect time to teach a child to ride, but making sure the child is physically and mentally prepared is something you should do.
Any child will be able to handle the physical part with practice.
But even before learning how to ride a bike, you should prepare your child mentally and get them comfortable with the idea, since that’s something they have never done before.
I recommend you to show your child videos of other children riding bikes and enjoying themselves. Of course, you don’t want to show them failures, but show them the fun side of riding a bike.
This will make every child who owns a bike want to ride and put them in a can-do mindset.
You can also give your child a prep talk just before the ride.
Let them know that nobody gets it from the first try, but everyone succeeds in the end. This will help them think positively even when they fail.
This will help children understand how it might not be easy at first, but it will be worth it since they’ll be having a lot of fun in the end.
2. Start with a Trike and Balance Bike
Besides preparing the child mentally, it would be best if you gradually worked on teaching them how to ride without training wheels.
The combination of trike and balance bike will greatly improve their learning curve.
I recommend starting with a trike bike, which will help them get used to a bike, especially learning how to pedal and use the brakes.
When you think your child is ready, making a switch to a balance bike is the best idea. A balance bike will allow them to practice balance, cornering, and maneuvering at a slower speed and prepare themselves physically for a pedal bike without training wheels.
Finally, when your child is ready, giving a pedal bike (without training wheels) a try will be a lot because they’re already familiar with balancing the bike and pedaling a bike.
Therefore, they won’t have a hard time learning to ride a pedal bike without training wheels.
3. Make Sure the Bike Size is Right
It’s imperative to get the bike size right so your child can have the best riding experience.
Otherwise, they might not enjoy riding at all, and they are most likely going to have a hard time learning to ride a bike that doesn’t fit them.
You should never be guessing the right bike size for your child, and you should never approximately judge the size of a bike.
Instead, it would be best if you focused on getting the right wheel dimension first, which would be a great fit for your child’s age group. You should then measure the inseam length (from the crotch to the floor) when your child is seated in a standard position.
This will help you to make sure you get the correct bike size.
Here is an inseam length to the wheel size chart, which you can use as a guide:
4. Find a Safe and Quiet Location to Practice
Availability of a safe place to ride is critical, especially for a first-timer.
While your neighborhood’s street might do just fine, I recommend you to find a safe and quiet location where cars won’t be passing by quite often, and they won’t be pulling in and out of driveways.
This will help boost the child’s confidence, knowing that they won’t be in any danger even.
Also, inviting siblings and friends who can already ride a two-wheeled pedal bike would motivate your child and is considered a big motivational push for a child who’s learning how to ride.
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5. Start Slow
Other than teaching your child to be patient, you should be patient as well.
Never rush the process or focus solely on the bike speed.
At first, you should fully assist your child, helping them balance the bike while they’re slowly pedaling. This will help them to feel confident and gain the feeling of control on a bike (even though you’re helping out).
Therefore, this is the perfect time to teach your child how to efficiently but safely slow down by using brakes. Teaching them the ability to stop at any given time will help them increase their confidence on a bike.
Another thing you shouldn’t do is try to gain speed too fast. This might scare them and won’t give them time to think before taking action.
A decent amount of speed is ideal to help them keep their balance, but pushing them as fast as possible in order just to travel some distance won’t do any good.
Speed should be increased only when the child is comfortable with achieving the speed themselves, keeping it, and slowing down the bike themselves.
6. Be Patient
I can’t stress how important it is to be patient.
It will take the child at least a few sessions to fully master riding and acquire a set of skills to handle their bike comfortably.
You shouldn’t rush the process no matter how long it takes your child to learn. Instead, help your child by coming up with ways to practice starting, keeping balance, pedaling, and braking efficiency.
Encourage your child with positive words will help them a lot more than you think. When they feel like they can’t do it, being there for them mentally and physically is a really important thing a parent should do.
If your child needs a break or doesn’t want to continue with the session, you should respect and accept their decision. With a little bit of rest, encouragement, and motivation, they’ll be back on a bike doing a lot better than they were last time.
7. Ride with Them
Besides gathering siblings and friends who have already mastered riding a two-wheeled pedal bike, you can start the lead by an example.
Get your bike ready and ride with your child.
You can show them how you ride a bicycle even before they give it a try. Or you can ride your bike alongside them once they start catching up with the skills.
This would be ideal after a few sessions. However, even after they master the riding skills, you will make riding a lot more fun by introducing the course with cones.
Instead of races where the fastest rider wins, you can reverse the race and make a slow race where the rider places their feet on the ground last wins. Be creative.
Showing them that you still can make mistakes is also a valuable lesson for them. Just make sure to reinforce success rather than focus on mistakes.
When your child finally masters all necessary skills, you can then take things up a notch and organize family rides.