Bike riding can be an excellent way for your kids to develop endurance and gain some physical activity. However, riding a bike doesn't come that naturally to kids. That's unsurprising since the skills available to kids might not be that much.
As a parent or guardian, you have to be there to teach them. So how do you go about it? We have outlined several ways you can teach your child how to ride a bicycle. You will find that it isn't that complicated.
But before we get to that,
At What Age is it Appropriate to Teach a Child?
Before teaching your child how to ride a bike, you first need to know whether they are ready or not. If you don't, it could prove challenging to teach them or take too much of your time.
For instance, you can't teach a kid as young as one or two years how to ride a bike. Such kids should first start with a balance bike to learn a thing or two about coordination.
So, when is the best time to teach a toddler how to ride a bike?
The best age, according to experts if from four years depending on their preparation. If the kid had had a head start with a balance bike or tricycle, it would be less stressful to teach them how to ride a bike.
Teaching Bike Riding to Kids
Get the Right Bike for them
An ill-fitting bike could be a disaster to use to teach bike riding. The kid will be uncomfortable and will struggle to grasp the critical controls needed to ride the bike.
Therefore, the first step is to ensure you get your child the best bike. That will mean getting one that fits their height and is lightweight. It wouldn't be fair to have a kid push off a bike that weighs over half their weight.
Avoid the Street
Kids will easily panic or get distracted when you are teaching them how to ride a bike. That is why you need to get an isolated place like a parking lot or a park. Parks, for one, don't have other motorists, and you can patiently teach them there.
Starting on the street could be dangerous besides being intimidating for the kid. A place with as few people as possible will calm the kid's tingling nerves.
Be Patient, Calm, and Positive
Kids have an inborn trait always to want to please their parents. Therefore, you will have to be as patient as possible to not discourage them from learning how to ride. If you show disappointment anytime, they do something wrong, that only makes the learning process harder.
A calm demeanour and an encouraging tone when teaching them will inspire them the confidence to do it. Don't castigate them when they get some things wrong. Instead, be as optimistic as possible.
Words like, "you got it! You can do this! I believe in you". That will inspire the confidence they need to get two-wheeled independence.
Get over the Fear they Could Hurt Themselves
It is normal for a concerned parent to be worried their kids might sustain an injury when learning how to ride a bike. If you let fear get to you, your kid won't learn how to ride a bike at all.
You need to overcome this fear and trust that your child will be safe. If the kid senses your nervousness, it could dissipate their confidence and further complicate the exercise.
That means you have to make them believe they got it. Inspire their confidence to ride the bike without you holding them.
Remove the Training Wheels
Most parents buy their kids tricycles to enable them easily transition to pedal bikes when the time comes. However, you need to get rid f the training wheels if you want your kids to learn anything at all.
Apart from slowing down their progress, they might interfere with them learning how to coordinate correctly. If you are afraid they might fall off the bike, lower the seat to have them be able to sit with their feet on the ground.
Make it Fun
Kids are more responsive to teaching when you make it fun. Don't make bike riding too much of a serious activity. The kid will get bored fast if you make it seem too serious. Find as many ways as possible to make the teaching a fun experience.
You can even incentivise the bikie riding experience to have the kid strive to lean faster. Making it fun also means you are downplaying some of the mistakes they make. You might get frustrated when they don't get some of the things you are teaching but stay upbeat.
When teaching them, you can remove the pedals and focus purely on balancing. Balance is usually one of the most critical skills in bike riding. Once the kid leaners how to balance the bike, pedalling and gear coordination will seamlessly click in.
Why You Should Teach Bike Riding When the Kid is Young
You might not believe it, but it is easier to teach younger kids to ride a bicycle than relatively older kids. Kids between ages four and six will be more responsive to the learning and less fearful.
Older kids might worry too much about falling off the bike and will thus be slower learners. On the other hand, young kids are relatively 'fearless' and are therefore easier to teach.
The Bottom Line
If you are to teach your child to ride a bike, you will need lots of patience. They might frustrate you when they don't understand things that seem elementary to you but don't be harsh with them.
If you are gentle and understanding with them, you will find they soon understand how to ride a bike. If you think you don't have the patience to teach them, get someone else to help.
No shame in admitting failure, is there?