Riding a bike is every kid’s dream. Children view riding a bike (without training wheels) as a milestone achievement and accomplishment. While there is no specific age when a kid should master the skill of riding a bike without training aids/wheels, the average age for teaching your child how to ride a bike is 4-6 years. It is also necessary for you to figure out the safest and most efficient way of bike ride training to your child. And the following tips will help you. (See other parenting topics)
1. Make sure the child is ready
Never consider training your child bike riding until he/she is ready especially if you are considering training him to ride a two-wheeled bike. For it to be easy for the kid to learn bike riding, they need to have great interest and be psychologically prepared.
At times, parents push their kids into learning bike riding- something that may completely put off the kid and may make the child hate bike riding. The child’s interest and maturity are critical for efficient safety and control as well as regard for other riders, and pedestrians.
2. Choose an appropriate bike
You should only buy an age-appropriate bike for your child if you want them to learn bike riding fast and efficiently. Most parents like buying bikes that the kids will grow into as they consider such an approach to be economical.
However, bikes that are too big for children are often hard to control and may make it hard for a child to learn bike riding efficiently. It is advisable that when purchasing a bike for your child, you should consider the child’s body size and riding needs.
3. Teach balance
The secret to learning how to successfully ride a bike is the ability to balance the bike. As such, you should focus on teaching your child balancing capabilities before proceeding to other bike riding basics.
It may take quite some time before your child is able to effectively balance a bike especially if he/she is used to riding three-wheeled and quad bikes. The best thing about balancing capabilities is that they make it easy to gain better control of the bike when learning bike riding.
4. Find a good location for training
It is worth noting that the training location also has an effect on the ease of learning how to ride a bike. The best training location should be well-leveled, not crowded, and in an open place. Usually, driveways and concrete backyards are the best places to teach your child bike riding especially if they are training for the first time.
5. Prioritize on the child’s safety and protective
It is obvious that before your child learns bike riding like a pro, he/she will fall to the ground severally. This is especially if they have poor balancing skills. The protective gear you should consider getting for your child should include a helmet, knee and elbow guards, and the right footwear. This footwear ensures that your child does not get hurt after falls or collision with obstacles such as walls, trees, or other riders.
6. Teach braking
Braking is one of the most important skills that you need to teach your child as they are training and practicing how to ride a bike. Teaching your child how to stop a moving bike is crucial and more important than teaching them how to pedal it.
Familiarize your child with how braking works and also teach them how to use their feet to attain balance by spreading the feet on the ground after braking for better stability. This prevents falls and also boosts the confidence of the kid.
7. Start slow
Biking riding is a complex process that involves a lot of basics and concepts. As such, go slow when training your child bike riding. Ensure that you do not progress to a new concept until the child has mastered and understood the current concept. For instance, do not proceed to braking until the kid has perfectly understood baling.
Ideally, you should stick to manageable and reasonable increments when training bike riding to your child. In addition to this, ensure that you take breaks to allow the child to rest and relax before starting a new training/practicing session.
8. Teach pedaling
Pedaling is the highlight of riding a bike. Your child doesn’t know how to ride a bike if he/she can’t be able to pedal and propel the bike on their own. This is why after you have taught your child all the other basics of riding a bike; you should teach them how to pedal. Show your child how to pedal the bike while at the same time maintaining balance so as to control the bike perfectly.
9. Exercise patience
If you expect your child to learn how to ride in a week and become a pro rider, you are in for a rude shock. Like any other skill, it takes time before your child can learn all the basics of bike riding and become a perfect bike rider. Usually, the median time that most children to learn bike riding is 4-5 weeks. However, this is subject to change due to factors such as interest, ease of understanding the basics, and the effectiveness of the trainer.
10. Practice often
Some skills like bike riding are only perfected and mastered through practice. Once the kid can ride on their own, you should practice with him/her by letting them follow you while cycling. During practice with the kid, you should take it easy and allow him/her to catch up with you as a way of motivating and encouraging them.
Avoid making it appear as though you are competing with him/her. While practicing with your child, ensure that you emphasize on balance and other important aspects like braking, pedaling, and bike control. Do not focus on the mistakes made by your child while practicing but rather reinforce success. Avoid practicing for long distances as your child needs to rest from time to time.
Cycling is very beneficial to the body as it is not only a fitness exercise but also helps in relaxing the mind especially after a stressful day at school or work. It also helps in promoting personality and coordination level by preparing riders for other activities such as skating and skiing.
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